Rutgers returns home to match up with Michigan, Michigan State

The Rutgers tennis team returns home this weekend after nearly a month of being on the road. This one will feature matches Friday at 1 p.m. against No. 8 Michigan (13-3, 5-0) and noon on Sunday against Michigan State (14-4, 4-1). These two Big Ten tilts could not come at a better time for the Scarlet Knights (6-9, 1-5) who are coming off a huge win against Penn State last weekend, their first conference win since joining the Big Ten back in 2015.

The team could not be happier to be back home and off the road.

“It feels great. It’s always fun to travel but it can take a lot of energy out of you. We had two long weekends away, so it’s nice to be home and play in our courts. We are hoping that the weather will be nice enough to play outside,” said junior Lee Levy.

The forecast may just allow for that.

With its confidence stemming from the Penn State match, Rutgers now feels that after getting that first Big Ten win under their belt it is ready for much more.

“Winning a Big Ten match, it being Penn State, made us all so happy, proud and ready for the next conference match,” Levy said. “The atmosphere was electrifying.”

With last weekend marking the midpoint of its Big Ten schedule, the Knights have just five conference teams left on the slate, including the two this weekend. 

The Wolverines have won six straight matches and have only lost three matches on the year. They have proved they are one of the better Big Ten teams currently ranking No. 2 in the conference and No. 8 in the country. They will be traveling to Rutgers after they face-off against a stout North Carolina team in Chapel Hill on Thursday. 

“We feel confident. We know we face some good teams ahead, but the win against Penn State really showed us that hard work pays off,” Levy said.

Sunday, the Knights take on Michigan State, who has won five of its last six matches and are currently in fourth place in the conference. The Spartans' only loss in conference play was at the hands of Michigan.

This late into the season, typical wear and tear takes place as does the stress of approaching finals. It is difficult for any student athlete to remain focused on both school and their respective sports at such a critical time.

“It is the time of the semester when school starts to be stressful, we have played a lot of matches, some players are injured, so we need to all make sure that we take care of the little things. We need to come together stronger than the other team who is going through the same things,” Levy said.

Levy and the Rutgers tennis team knows they need to stay prepared and healthy to have success as they close out the season.

“We can make sure we sleep enough, stay hydrated, and eat well," Levy said. "That way we can play to the best of our abilities come match day.”

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

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