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Doubles point becomes focus in match at Army

After splitting two matches last weekend, the Rutgers tennis team’s focus shifts to a road match Friday against Army.

This matchup features two teams this season who have started off strong.

The Scarlet Knights (3-2, 1-0) are coming off of 4-3 win Sunday against Cincinnati for the their first Big East victory and their third win in four matches.

Army (5-1) is experiencing a two-match winning streak.

Rutgers will turn to junior Vanessa Petrini and freshman Gina Li to get things started against the Black Knights, as both sport identical 4-1 records in singles play.

While Petrini and Li have respectively been the No. 1 and 2 singles positions this season, Army has utilized several players in the top-two positions, a tactic that has produced a combined 9-3 record from the top positions.

“I’m not very familiar with their players since this is the first time I’ve played them,” Li said. “But I know this will be a tough match.”

The Knights captured four of their six singles matches against the Bearcats, a performance essential to secure the win because of the team’s doubles performance.

Only the duo of Petrini and Li has been successful in doubles action.

Rutgers will get no breaks against Army’s stout doubles unit.

With Petrini and Li playing well together, the real danger for Rutgers in the second doubles pairing.

Erin Colton and Jamila Paul are undefeated with a 4-0 record in the No. 2 position.

Outside of Petrini and Li who are 2-1 in doubles, head coach Ben Bucca has done a lot of mixing this season with his doubles pairings

“We have a very young team and they are finding out there is a steep learning curve at the Division-I level, but they stepped up last Sunday,” Bucca said.

The Black Knights will be a test for the Knights’ young roster as they continue to find consistency from the bottom positions.

Action begins at Friday at 3 p.m. in West Point, N.Y.

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