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Knights fall to Penn, look to rebound in training

<p>Senior Vanessa Petrini lost a competitive doubles match with a 9-7 tiebreaker. Petrini was paired with freshman Farris Cunningham in the loss to Penn on Sunday.</p>

Senior Vanessa Petrini lost a competitive doubles match with a 9-7 tiebreaker. Petrini was paired with freshman Farris Cunningham in the loss to Penn on Sunday.

The Rutgers tennis team lost its match Sunday in Philadelphia, 6-1, against Penn.

The score was not indicative of how the Scarlet Knights played, as their matches were competitive.

But in the end, they came up short.

“Penn is a very accomplished team with strong players, and they gave us a tough match,” said head coach Ben Bucca. “As a team, we fought hard and played very well, but Penn was simply better than us on that day.”

Senior Vanessa Petrini and freshman Farris Cunningham played together for doubles matches and lost in a tiebreaker set, 9-7, to Stephanie Do and Alex Ion.

Penn (2-2) went on to win all its doubles matches and won all but one singles match.

Sophomore Lindsey Kayati gave the Knights (2-1) their only victory of the day as she defeated Stephanie Do. Kayati won the first set before dropping the second set.

The final set went to a tiebreaker where Kayati pulled away for a 10-7 win.

Bucca admitted the loss was tough, but notes it will be good for the team to gain experience.

“We were obviously disappointed in the result because we wanted to compete with a team like Penn, but this loss will definitely be an inspiration for us in the long run,” Bucca said.

This type of loss serves as a learning experience for Rutgers. After winning its first two matches convincingly, this may serve as only a small setback in the road for the season.

Petrini is not fazed by the loss and understands the Knights must continue looking forward instead of dwelling on past performances.

“We played a great team on Sunday … and we just came up short,” Petrini said. “We definitely learned from our loss and have a full week of practice to prepare and work on some things before our next match. With strong practices, we will bounce back and be ready to take on Army next Sunday.”

The Knights have leadership on the team that starts with Petrini and senior Stefania Balasa, so a loss like this may not linger in their upcoming match against Army on Sunday.

Focusing on their technique and the little things in practice will make a difference for the Knights over the course of the season. With their leadership and work ethic, they will be able to improve on a weekly basis.

“These girls are just competitors and I couldn’t be more proud of how hard they played on Sunday,” Bucca said. “They can handle the glory of victory and the disappointment of defeat.”

For updates on the Rutgers tennis team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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