Knights aim to sharpen play in home scrimmage against NJIT
For the first time since offseason workouts began over the summer, the Rutgers tennis team will have its only chance to fine-tune its skills before the regular season commences.
The Scarlet Knights will play in a home scrimmage today against the New Jersey Institute of Technology at 2 p.m. on Busch campus.
Head coach Ben Bucca previously claimed he could not wait to see how the freshmen, namely Lee Levy and Chloe Lee, fare face-to-face with collegiate opponents and is excited to watch how the rest of his team gears itself to competition mode.
Members of the team have their personal objectives entering the preseason match.
“For our scrimmage against NJIT tomorrow, I am looking to compete well and to help pump my teammates up,” said senior and reigning team MVP Lindsay Balsamo. “Even though it is only a scrimmage, it is a great way to set a positive tone for our fall season.”
Though it will be the one instance where the Knights will face off against opposing team players before the regular season, having the mindset that Balsamo has will encourage the rest of her legion.
But don’t take this match as a sign of how the Knights will perform when they tango against the Newark-based secondary school in the spring season.
“I think our scrimmage against NJIT tomorrow will give us an idea of what to expect in the spring when we play them,” Balsamo said. “I don’t think it will be an indication of what will happen in the spring though.”
While the lone fourth-year player is looking beyond the scrimmage, others are viewing it as more of an opportunity to prove their worth to the squad and have a good time.
Lee said her level of excitement to start playing for a Division 1 University was at an “11” on a scale of 1-10, and she is ready to enjoy herself during her match.
“It is going to be my first college match ever, so I am really just going to try to enjoy myself,” said Lee. “Even though it is just a scrimmage, it really marks a new beginning in my tennis, which is so exciting. Obviously, I am going to try to win whatever position I play, but I’m really just going to have fun.”
One can’t blame Lee for the amount of excitement she’s exuding, as coming from New Mexico to the biggest school in New Jersey to play a sport she loves presents huge opportunities for her.
In addition, tomorrow’s event will signify an undoubted change in Lee’s tennis career.
“Our match against NJIT really makes college tennis real for me,” Lee said. “Being here and going to classes has really seemed like a dream, so I know that once we are playing our first match, college tennis is real.”
Lee’s goal of playing college tennis on the Division 1 level has been something she protected since she was a young girl.
“It has been a goal of mine to play Division 1 tennis since I was like 10, so that first match is really going to be rewarding in the aspect that I will know that it’s actually happening and I actually made it,” Lee said.
With the season slated to start on Sept. 19, it’s easy to say the entire team is eager to get tomorrow’s match going.
If there’s any doubt about it, Balsamo will make one a believer.
“The team is excited to compete and get the season started,” she said.
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