Rutgers cruises past Stony Brook for non-conference victory

The Rutgers tennis team met with Stony Brook in a midweek matchup at the East Brunswick Racquet Club (EBRC). The Scarlet Knights (7-11, 1-7) came off an unsuccessful weekend of Big Ten play and entered the match against Stony Brook (4-9) needing a win before they close out the season with a streak of conference matches. Rutgers secured this important stepping stone with a victory by a score of 6-1.

The Knights were scheduled to play outside but due to rain, had to move to the EBRC after playing a few games of doubles sets. The match started slow, but after the move the energy was high. Head coach Hilary Ritchie stressed the importance of starting a match with intensity.

“We have to find the energy to start and finish strong,” Ritchie said.

Those words echoed in the team's heads as it entered the match. Once Rutgers got going, the team never let up. Almost the entire group had a great day en route to a great team win.

The match started with the doubles sets. Freshman Katherine Muzik and junior Mingxiu Du teamed up together again. They have been successful this season but today fell short, losing their match 6-1.

After the slow start, the Knights relaxed, refocused and infused some more energy into the match. Junior Chloe Lee and senior Ksenija Tihomirova teamed up to win their match 6-3. That victory was followed by another one from Rutgers' dynamic duo of freshman Jacqueline Cochrane and senior Farris Cunningham. They won their match 7-5, their first point of the match, which also added to ten wins on the season for the Knights. 

After the doubles victory, Cunningham came to her singles set ready to play lights out. She came out with a vengeance after losing her first singles match in four matches last time out against Michigan State. She defeated her opponent in straight sets, 6-0 in both.

Next to finish was Du. Despite coming off a victory Sunday against Michigan State, she could not follow that up with another one as she fell uncharacteristically in two sets both by scores of 6-1.

Cochrane, coming off of her doubles win, also pulled out a dominant victory, besting her opponent in two sets by identical scores of 6-2. Muzik followed Cochrane as Rutgers continued to roll to a solid victory. Muzik was able to solidify the win early for the Knights, winning in two sets by scores of 6-3 and 6-2.

Tihomirova was next and took down her opponent by scores of 6-3 and 6-4. Lee was also able to come away with a huge win in a tiebreaker set. She had taken the first set 6-3, yielded the second 6-4 and won the tiebreaker 11-9.

“Chloe’s win today gave a lot of confidence for the team and her. We have not won a third set tiebreaker in a while, so it feels like a change has come,” said junior Lee Levy.

This was a huge confidence boost for Lee who has struggled as of late and for the team who hasn't won a third set tiebreaker in a long time. 

Wednesday’s match was not only a big confidence booster for the team but also a nice building block as it looks to close out this season on a high note.

“Approaching the last few matches this win feels great,” Levy said.

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

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