Knights thrive from senior co-captain’s impressive play

Senior co-captain Vanessa Petrini has proven to be a dynamic player for the Rutgers tennis team. Her 10-5 singles record thus far this season speaks for itself.

Her success did not happen overnight, though.

“I’ve really developed a stronger play strategy this season with my coaches, and it’s definitely stuck with me,” Petrini said. “My attitude has changed from last season too. The work I’ve put in has contributed to my successful play without a doubt.”

She has been playing her best tennis of late as she’s won her last three singles matches, which all contributed to her team’s victories.

The Scarlet Knights rely on her to help pull out tight victories. When Petrini wins, Rutgers is undefeated this season and when she loses, it is a measly 1-4.

“I’ve just been trying to work on things in practice, and it’s definitely helped me play so well this season, and it has obviously helped our team as well,” Petrini said. “What I do in practice, I try to implement into my matches.”

Her strong work ethic has translated into receiving the co-captain honors with fellow senior Stefania Balasa.

“I think we received the honors of co-captains because we are the seniors,” Petrini said. “We set the good example for the rest of the girls. I feel like we can always help them with anything they need and that’s important.”

With the majority of the team being underclassmen, Petrini’s leadership is essential to the Knights’ current and future success. With an 11-4 record this season, expectations are high for Rutgers.

“I really want to win our last few matches before the AAC tournament,” Petrini said. “We really feel like we can do some serious damage down [in Tampa Bay] and compete really well. I just want to lead by example and help the team finish strong with some huge wins.”

The Knights are in a prime position to progress far in the tournament. With teams like Temple, Connecticut, Cincinnati and Central Florida struggling, it means that Rutgers will likely enjoy a first-round bye in the tournament.

That would play right into Petrini’s hopes and aspirations to make a long run in the tournament. A perfect ending to her career would be an AAC Championship victory.

She has led the team over the last four years and been the rock that the program has been able to count on.

An 8-1 record in their last nine matches has proven that the Knights can go on long runs of success. Although a tournament championship is uncertain, it is not improbable by any means.

“I just want to finish this year with a deep run into the tournament,” Petrini said. “I’ve just been trying to lead by example and show the underclassmen how to work hard. I’d love to end the year off strong and end my four great years at Rutgers with an amazing finish.”

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

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