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The Rutgers tennis team is ready to compete after nearly a month off at the U.S. Open’s recent location. The team will travel to Flushing, N.Y. tomorrow for the United States Tennis Association Invitational at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. It lasts until Sunday as the second full-weekend tournament of the Scarlet Knights’ fall season.
The Rutgers tennis roster has come from all over the country and found a home in New Brunswick. The team’s closeness has made it a comfortable transition for all the Scarlet Knights. “You get really close to everyone on the team, as opposed to a team with a lot of people and you don’t really know what’s going on in each other’s lives,” said senior Stefania Balasa.
Senior Stefania Balasa said playing for such a small team has allowed the Knights to get closer. She said a larger team might not grant that chance.
The Rutgers tennis team knows how important it is to possess a sound mind and body. This fall, the team will compete in only two tournaments, not including the ITA regional at Harvard, where the Intercollegiate Tennis Association must select players. But both tournaments last all weekend, often becoming a true test of both physical and mental endurance.
The Rutgers tennis team knows how important constant competition is to their success. Head coach Ben Bucca schedules tough tournaments and games so his players can see what it is like to be around the best players in the country. “We always play a demanding schedule,” Bucca said. “That is what our program has become. One result of that is we have become one of the more respected teams in the region.”
According to Marian Rosenwasser, the game of tennis has evolved immensely over the years. A tennis player since her high school days, Rosenwasser was the Rutgers head tennis coach for 22 seasons up until 2003, before handing the reigns over to current head coach Ben Bucca.
Head coach Ben Bucca was an assistant for Marian Rosenwasser, the Knights’ former head coach. She is now a professor at the University.
Freshman Farris Cunningham has been a member of the Rutgers tennis team for only a short time, but everyone in the program, including senior captain Vanessa Petrini, has already felt her impact.
Senior Vanessa Petrini said Farris Cunningham impressed in her first college Invitational, where she finished in the final round.
The Rutgers tennis team completed its first tournament of the season last weekend in Providence for the three-day Brown Invitational. Head coach Ben Bucca feels a lot of positivity can be drawn from the weekend’s grueling action.
Junior Lindsay Balsamo reached the finals of the Black Singles Flight at the three-day Brown Invitational. Balsamo lost in identical 6-1 sets in the championship round to Binghampton’s Sara Kotz.
The Rutgers tennis team opens its fall season this weekend in Providence at the Brown Invitational. The Scarlet Knights enter the tournament confident off of a strong preseason scrimmage against NJIT. Senior Vanessa Petrini is excited for her final autumn run.
Senior Vanessa Petrini said she wants to experience a better individual season this fall. During the spring season last year, Petrini compiled an 11-10 singles record.
Every successful team needs players who provide leadership while encouraging the group to get better every day. For the Rutgers tennis team, senior Stefania Balasa fills that role. Assistant coach Hilary Ritchie talked about the value of having two seniors on the squad —Vanessa Petrini being the other.
Being named the Most Valuable Player on any team is an exceptional honor, but receiving the award as a freshman is nearly unheard of. Sophomore Gina Li earned the award last season for the Rutgers tennis team.
Freshman Gina Li earned Most Valuable Player honors for the Knights last season. She compiled a team-best 16-5 overall record and and 9-1 conference record in singles play. Head coach Ben Bucca thinks she can get even better this year.
On a day when temperatures reached more than 90 degrees, the Rutgers tennis team fought both the heat and NJIT yesterday in a scrimmage at the Rutgers Tennis Complex. “The ladies had to play in a very challenging environment,” said head coach Ben Bucca. “We really played some good tennis, and clearly won a majority of the matches against a team that was returning all of its players from last year.”
Sophomore Gina Li led the Knights in their first scrimmage of the fall season yesterday at home against NJIT. She posted a 16-5 overall singles record last season.
Determined, hardworking and confident are just a few words the Rutgers tennis team coaches use to describe senior Vanessa Petrini.But head coach Ben Bucca believes there is one trait Petrini possesses which separates her from the rest of the athletes.
The Rutgers tennis team opens up its fall schedule today at 2 p.m. at the Rutgers Tennis Complex. The Scarlet Knights will face the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders in a scrimmage that will focus on preparing the players for the upcoming season.