Rutgers taken to task by Tigers in rout

<p>Junior Mariam Zein put together the most competitive match for the Knights in their 7-0 defeat to Princeton yesterday, forcing a third set before falling 7-5, 3-6, (10-5).</p>

Junior Mariam Zein put together the most competitive match for the Knights in their 7-0 defeat to Princeton yesterday, forcing a third set before falling 7-5, 3-6, (10-5).

The Rutgers women’s tennis team recorded its second loss Tuesday, dropping its match against Princeton, 7-0.

The loss puts the Scarlet Knights back at .500 in the young season at an even 2-2.

The Knights anticipated a challenge going into the match against the No. 56 team in the ITA national rankings.

Princeton (2-5) was ready for Rutgers — and it was evident from the start of the first match. The Tigers swept the Knights away in both singles and doubles play.

Playing No. 1 singles, Princeton’s Lindsay Graff defeated junior Gina Li in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

The rest of the Knights also struggled.

Junior Lindsey Kayati was undefeated in the No. 2 singles spot this season before falling to Amanda Muliawan in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 inside historic Jadwin Gym.

Junior Mariam Zein, playing No. 5 singles, put forth perhaps the best performance for the Knights in their battle with the Tigers, eventually falling 7-5, 3-6, (10-5).

“I think we came out in all of our matches and competed really hard and tried to do just that to stay true to the game that we know how to play,” said Zein, “Every year we play Princeton and it’s hard to come out against them and not have the results that we want.”

Zein added that the loss would serve as motivation, an opportunity for each individual to look inside oneself and find some intestinal fortitude.

“When we talked afterward, the resounding thing we want to work on is digging in and fighting through points where our opponents might overpower us or hit a good serve or a winner," she said. "We’re going to focus on digging deep when it counts … to give ourselves the best chance.”

Despite the difficult loss, assistant coach Hilary Ritchie takes some positives from the match.

She was particularly impressed by how the Knights played in doubles action.

“We played some good, aggressive points [in doubles] with a lot of pace," Ritchie said. "We played really smart.”

Rutgers looks to rebound from its loss and get back to practice before facing NJIT at East Brunswick Racquet club on Friday in another in-state rivalry matchup.

The Knights scrimmaged the Highlanders in Piscataway back in September, and are hopeful their experience will prove helpful come Saturday in East Brunswick.

Ritchie believes that this loss to Princeton will only improve the team in the longrun.

“We felt like it was a disappointing loss … but I think that this is something that is just going to make [us] better,” said Ritchie, “Princeton was the better team today and we’re going to have to work a little harder and put more balls in play.”

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

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