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Rutgers tops first Ivy league school

<p>Senior Vanessa Petrini won her singles match Saturday 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, in the Knights’ 4-3 victory over Cornell.</p>

Senior Vanessa Petrini won her singles match Saturday 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, in the Knights’ 4-3 victory over Cornell.

Rounding out their six-match road trip, the Rutgers tennis team defeated Cornell on Saturday afternoon, 4-3, in Ithaca, N.Y. It was the Scarlet Knights’ second consecutive 4-3 victory, as they beat Cincinnati by the same score Feb. 23.

The Scarlet Knights (5-3, 1-1) swept all three of their doubles matches led by the pairings of senior Vanessa Petrini and sophomore Lindsey Kayati, junior Lindsay Balsamo and sophomore Mariam Zein and senior Stefania Balasa and sophomore Gina Li.

By securing the doubles point, the Knights had to secure just three of the six singles points in order to win the entire match.

That’s exactly what Rutgers did as Balsamo, Petrini and Balasa provided crucial victories in order to add another win to its season record.

Balsamo, who won both of her matches, tried to spark some team enthusiasm.

“I just tried to stay really focused on my matches, and I also did my best to really pump up myself and my teammates,” Balsamo said.

She defeated Christy Kung, 6-1, 6-1, following her doubles victory.

Petrini had to fight different obstacles during her match and tried to stay calm amid crowd noise.

“During my match, I was able to stay focused even though they had a lot of fans,” Petrini said. “I knew I had to stay positive after big points, and it definitely helped me a lot.”

Even with the loud fans, she won a decisive singles match against Cornell’s Dena Tanenbaum 6-2, 6-7, 7-9, 6-4.

She was also particularly happy that her team was able to defeat such a prestigious school like the Big Red (2-3).

“Beating an Ivy League school is huge for us and our momentum,” Petrini said. “We needed that win to boost our confidence for our next series of home matches.”

A win against a tough team like Cornell shows the resiliency the Knights have. Freshman Farris Cunningham was excited to show everyone else how strong her team is.

“The match was really close, but it was apparent that we wanted to win more than they did,” Cunningham said. “This type of win shows us and everyone we play that we can win the close, tight matches. It just gives us the confidence to keep fighting.”

After the long road trip, the Knights are looking forward to playing a home match for the first time since Feb. 7.

Cunningham reiterated what most of her teammates said about the positives that come from playing at home.

“It’ll definitely be nice. We like the home atmosphere,” Cunningham said. “We always come out and play strong when we have friends and family there to support us.”

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

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