Rutgers aims to end Tigers’ win streak
A 4-3 record from the opposing Princeton Tigers normally would not point toward a particularly tough match today in Princeton, N.J.
But when that team has beaten the Rutgers tennis team in 11 consecutive meetings, that is an obvious trend that the Scarlet Knights hope to end.
“Princeton is extremely strong in all facets of the game,” said head coach Ben Bucca. “They’re typically a nationally ranked program, so let’s just say that it would be a huge win for us if we can pull it out.”
Despite little to no recent success against the Tigers, Bucca feels there is no reason that the Knights (3-1) should not win this match.
“As long as we keep doing what we focus on during practice, which includes controlling our own game, we’ll put ourselves in great position to win,” Bucca said. “The girls have to truly believe in themselves and that is when it will happen.”
If Rutgers can win, it would begin the season 4-1, an impressive start to the season, especially beating Princeton on the way.
The tension around this team to win is evident because the Knights have not forgotten about their lack of success against Princeton.
“We’ve been talking about this match since the beginning of the season and how much we want to win,” said junior Lindsay Balsamo.
The Knights will look to implement some of their own strategies to try and beat their tough opponent.
They have worked on these strategies in practice and training.
“If we focus on hitting strong serves and returns and stay patient throughout the points, I believe our team will be in position to be successful,” Balsamo said. “We are definitely hungry for this win.”
Those are the little things that have been executed successfully throughout the season.
“Winning the doubles point is going to be key because that will give us the edge we need to beat Princeton,” Balsamo said.
An inspirational or motivational speech is not necessary to give, according to coach Bucca. The team has a good mindset entering the match.
“I know these girls are excited and I know they’ll play with positive spirits,” Bucca said. “They understand how important it would be to win this match.”
Bucca has demonstrated clear confidence in his team from the season’s beginning and it has spread to his players.
They have played impressively for him through their first four matches.
“Playing strong tennis tomorrow and pulling out a win would only put us in the best position to do the same this weekend against Louisville and Cinncinati,” said sophomore Mariam Zein.
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