April 24, 2019 | 63° F

Rutgers drops 2 of 3 contests at Buffalo Invitational

Photo by Jeffrey Gomez |

The Rutgers tennis team concluded its fall schedule of the 2017 season with a positive performance at the Buffalo Invitational.

The Scarlet Knights made an inaugural appearance at the indoor invite against Binghamton picking up six singles wins and three doubles victories while giving up a lone loss for a 9-1 collective score.

Senior Mingxiu Du beat Samara Eisenberg by sets of 6-1, 6-3 while sophomore Kat Muzik dominated Olga Ostrovetsky with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph.

Senior Chloe Lee earned a victory against Maria Pandya in a pair of 6-2 winning sets. Jaci Cochrane did not disappoint and swept Tiffany Dun with scores of 6-2, 6-2 while senior Lee Levy made a successful return to the courts after beating Michelle Eisenberg by scores of 6-4, 6-1. 

Freshman Isabelle Da Silva won her respective match, 6-2, 6-2. The only defeat for Rutgers in the first day of competition came at the hands of Paulina Tafler who challenged Kat Rosenberger in a 6-4, 3-6, 0-1 (10-5) game.

In doubles, the teams of Du and Cochrane, Lee and Muzik, and Da Silva and Rosenberger obtained three wins that served as momentum for the Knights, propelling them into the next series of matches against the Buffalo Bulls.

Rutgers had a slow start with Du dropping her match, 1-6, 2-6 while Muzik suffered a 4-6, 2-6 defeat against Tanja Stojanovska. As Buffalo became a much tougher rival for the Knights, Cochrane was the only team member to gain a victory, winning her match by a score of 6-4, 6-2.

“Cochrane had a tremendous fall season,” said head coach Hilary Ritchie. "...She has made big improvements on her ball placement and shot selection. She will definitely be an important part (of) our line up this spring.”

Cochrane said that her improvement was based on experience and constant training on a daily basis. 

“A year under my belt has helped me a lot in terms of experience,” Cochrane said. “... A lot of running and conditioning have allowed me to get the endurance I need to stay on the court.”

Even though Cochrane showed an honorable performance, Rutgers was unable to stop Buffalo’s dominance on the court, and Lee saw an early downfall in a 6-7, 2-6 match. 

Knights Levy, Da Silva and Rosenberger also fell against their respective rivals, giving a total of six losses in singles display on the second day at the Invitational.

In doubles, Buffalo dominated the bracket with a 3-0 collective triumph, giving itself a winning total of 9-1 over Rutgers.

“We were very dominant in our matches against Binghamton,” Ritchie said. “... Buffalo played very aggressive singles, and while we had several close matches, we let a few key points slip near the end of the sets.”

In the last day of competition, the Knights confronted St. John’s with little success. Rutgers registered six losses in the singles draw while the only victory of the third day of competition came at the hands of team Levy and Da Silva over Kajsa Stegrell and Nina Marjanovic, in a 6-3 doubles contest. 

Another two setbacks in the doubles bracket resulted in a 9-1 overall defeat against St. John’s for the Knights.

The Buffalo Invitational was the last tournament for Rutgers in its fall schedule, and Ritchie said the Knights have recognized the aspects they need to improve come the next invite in January of 2018.

“The close losses from the weekend certainly help motivate and focus our players for off-season training,” Ritchie said. “Our ladies work incredibly hard at practice, and we will continue to do so until we begin our dual match season in January.”

Rutgers will be back in action Jan. 20 and 21 at the NJIT Invitational in Newark.

For updates on the Rutgers tennis team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Kervy Robles

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