Rutgers falls twice over weekend in Michigan
The Rutgers tennis team traveled to Michigan this weekend to face Michigan State and Michigan in an attempt to add more victories to its schedule.
But it was a struggle, as the Scarlet Knights (5-13, 0-9) fell to the Spartans (14-7, 5-4) and Wolverines (13-9, 9-1), with Rutgers' No. 2 player senior Chloe Lee being the only player to come out with a Big Ten victory.
Both Michigan State and Michigan were coming off of strong performances against Illinois and Northwestern, teams that have already beaten the Knights. The Spartans senior and No. 2 singles player Habiba Shaker defeated two consecutive ranked opponents in the Wildcats' Or Lee in three sets 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and the Fighting Illini’s Asuka Kawai in straight sets 6-1, 6-4.
Michigan State No. 6 singles player Samantha Memije had a seven-game unbeaten streak in conference play until being defeated by Illinois' Sasha Belaya in straight sets after moving up to the No. 5 spot.
The Spartans came and showed how strong they were as they defeated Rutgers in a 6-1 rout. But, Lee stood out as she defeated Aslina Chua in straight sets.
Lee said last weekend that she needed to improve her performances in the second set, and she displayed that improvement in Saturday’s victory.
After taking the first set 6-3, Lee was able to battle her way to a tiebreak in the second set. With the score tied 6-6, Lee ultimately won the tiebreak 7-5 to win the match.
This was an impressive performance by Lee, considering that Chua was at one point Michigan State's No. 1 singles player.
The Knights No. 3 player sophomore Kat Muzik also put up a fight against Spartan Sara Kuuttila, as she forced a third set. After a gritty battle, Muzik fell in the third set 10-7, with Kuuttila winning the match 6-2, 5-7, 10-7.
Rutgers looked to find motivation in Lee and Muzik’s performance when they faced Michigan on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Knights, the Wolverines, who won eight of their last nine results, were coming in with a lot of confidence.
Michigan swept No. 11 Illinois last weekend, with ranked players No. 29 Kate Fahey and No. 95 Chiara Lommer leading the way in singles and doubles victories. It would then suffer a very close defeat against No. 9 Northwestern, but the players such as Lommer and No. 2 singles player Brienne Minor ended up victorious against ranked opponents.
The Wolverines’ talent proved to be too much for Rutgers, as they swept the team 4-0 in singles and doubles play. But, Lee and freshman Isabelle Da Silva were leading a doubles match 6-5 that was not finished since Michigan already earned the points for winning the first two matches.
After a tough road trip, the Knights expect to regroup as they finish their season at home against Purdue Saturday and Indiana Sunday.
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