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Undefeated conference record remains intact

The Rutgers tennis team delivered a victory against Marquette on Friday for the Scarlet Knights’ third victory in a row.

The win also broke a streak of three consecutive losses to the Golden Eagles.

“This was a big confidence booster for us,” said head coach Ben Bucca. “Marquette is always one of the leading teams in the Big East.”

The Knights (5-2, 2-0) took the doubles point behind another strong performance from junior Vanessa Petrini and freshman Gina Li, who defeated Rocio Diaz and Ali Dawson, 8-2, in the opening match.

Following a no finish in the second doubles match, sophomores Lindsay Balsamo and Noor Judeh clinched the doubles point, 8-4, against Aleeza Kanner and Aina Hernandez Soler.

“The whole team had a lot of energy coming into this match. Marquette is always tough,” Balsamo said, who is now 5-2 in singles play. “It was really exciting to clinch the doubles point and really set the tone going into singles competition.”

Bucca also expressed his approval of the strong doubles play against Marquette (9-5, 0-2).

“I think we played some of our best doubles of the season,” he said.

Marquette did not go away quietly in singles play.

Ana Pimienta needed a tie-breaking third set to defeat Petrini in the No. 1 singles match. The setback was only Petrini’s second loss this season in singles play.

But Li delivered a win against Diaz in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, to compensate for Petrini.

“Vanessa and I played a really good match in doubles and I just brought that energy and momentum into my singles match,” said Li, who improved her singles record to a team best 6-1 and increased her singles win streak to three.

The Knights made a final run to seal the victory. Freshman Lindsey Kayati defeated Erin Gebes, 6-3, 6-3, and also improved to 5-1 in singles play.

The Knights turned to Judeh and Balsamo to seal the victory. Judeh defeated Hernandez Soler to give the Knights the match. Balsamo finished out the match with a victory over Kanner, 6-2, 6-2.

With an undefeated record in the Big East, Rutgers continues conference play tomorrow at Storrs, Conn. to face Connecticut.

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