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RU rides winning streak into conference challenge

<p>Juinor Vanessa Petrini is tied with teammate Gina Li for the team lead in singles wins. Petrini holds a 5-1 record on the season.</p>

Juinor Vanessa Petrini is tied with teammate Gina Li for the team lead in singles wins. Petrini holds a 5-1 record on the season.

The Rutgers tennis team faces a major test today against Marquette in its second conference match.

“This is an important Big East match, especially since we have not had a lot of recent success against Marquette,” said head coach Ben Bucca. “I’m looking forward to this match on our home court with this current wave of confidence and our recent success.”

Recent history has shown that Marquette (9-4, 0-1) has been a problem for the Scarlet Knights in recent history.

The Golden Eagles have won four out of their last five matches against the Knights, including wins in their last three matches.

“They are a good team and this will be an intense match. We’re going to have to bring a lot of energy,” said junior Vanessa Petrini, who is tied for the team lead in singles wins. “We have had a good week of practice and I think we’re ready to play.”

Rutgers (4-2, 1-0) has been playing well early in the year. The Scarlet Knights are riding a two-match winning streak with four wins in their last five matches since they dropped their season opener 4-3 against Delaware.

Rutgers has relied on Petrini and freshman Gina Li in singles competition to get it started on the right note, as the duo has combined for 10 wins this season.

Both have done well in the leading singles positions, but have benefiting from sophomore Lindsay Balsamo’s and freshman Lindsey Kayati’s contributions. Balsamo is 4-2 on the year while Kayati is 4-1.

“We have been practicing hard and playing well this week,” Kayati said. “We just have to fight hard for every point, and if we give 100-percent effort then we will have a chance to win this match.”

Despite Marquette’s strong record, it must deal with the difficulties playing on the road. Three of the Golden Eagles’ four losses have come away from Wisconsin.

The Knights are coming off a 7-0 win against Army on the road and will look to translate its’ good road win into some momentum as they return home for its match.

Rutgers and Marquette will square off in this Big East match at 1 p.m. at the Rutgers Tennis Complex.

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