Rutgers ceases losing streak, cruising past Binghamton

<p>Senior Farris Cunningham looks forward to a career as a consultant in Washington, D.C. after she graduates from Rutgers.</p>

Senior Farris Cunningham looks forward to a career as a consultant in Washington, D.C. after she graduates from Rutgers.

The Rutgers tennis team hosted Binghamton on Wednesday with the Scarlet Knights (4-5) entering the matchup needing a win against the Bearcats (3-9).

Rutgers hasn't had a match since Feb. 26, so shaking off the rust was a concern going into the match.

“Today was an interesting match because we hadn’t had one in a week and a half,” said senior Farris Cunningham.

The important thing was that the team didn’t lose focus.

“It’s a midweek match, and spring break is right around the corner — it would’ve been really easy to lose focus and look past a team like this,” said senior Chloe Lee.

The Knights picked up their first point of the afternoon by securing two double sets. Head coach Hilary Ritchie continued her strategy of combining the upperclassmen and underclassmen in double sets. She paired Cunningham and freshman Jacqueline Cochrane together again and they delivered, coming away with a win by a score of 6-3. This is their fifth win together this season. They are turning into one of Rutgers' best weapons on the court.

The other doubles victory came from junior Mingxiu Du and freshman Katherine Muzik. They also won with a 6-3 score. This was a great confidence booster for both of them as they have struggled lately. They both hope to take that confidence into the singles matches.

The singles kicked off with another Cunningham victory. She bested her opponent winning both sets in a dominating fashion. She swept her opponent 6-0 and 6-0. This will be a huge boost for her going forward into this month’s matches.

Lee followed Cunningham, winning her two sets in a dominating fashion as well. She won her sets with scores of 6-2 and 6-0.

“I feel really happy with the way I played and the way the team played,” Lee said.

After the Knights had secured three straight points, momentum was on its side. Cochrane defeated her opponent by set scores of 6-1 and 6-2. Cochrane is a budding young star, and her success should carry over into the rest of the season.

Muzik was next to finish, and after a hard-fought first set which she won 7-6, she cruised in the next set, 6-0.

The first and only Binghamton point came against senior Ksenija Tihomirova. She battled her opponent forcing a third set. She lost the first, 6-4, but came back to win the second set, 6-0, and eventually fell after a highly contested third set by a score of 10-4.

To close out the day, Du won her sets by scores of 6-4 and 6-2. This was one of Rutgers' best victories of the season, coming at a time needed the most.

This match against Binghamton was a telling match for the Knights' season. Their win helps put the team on course to get back to .500. Gaining momentum now is more vital than ever before.

Rutgers has recently been on a downward spiral losing its previous five times out. A win here was very important, as the Knights have a seven away game stretch that could make or break their season. The seven matches include five Big Ten tilts.

Needless to say, with a tough schedule coming up and poor play prior to this matchup, Wednesday’s match was an important one for Rutgers.

“It’s going to be tough, however, sometimes being on the road can be a good thing,” Ritchie said. “We’re going to take it in stride and travel as well as we can.”

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

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