Tennis wraps up competition at ITA Northeast Regional Championship

The Rutgers tennis team concluded its participation at the ITA Northeast Regional Championship at the University of Pennsylvania this past weekend.

Five Scarlet Knights traveled to Philadelphia to compete in the singles and doubles draws from Oct 18-23 in the Northeast region which counted on 44 NCAA Division I programs.

In the first two days of competition, senior Chloe Lee and sophomore Jaci Cochrane attained different outcomes.
Lee saw action in the qualifier bracket dropping an opening round match to Ghita Benhadi of Drexel in straight sets. Meanwhile, Cochrane defeated Malin Leysen of LIU-Brooklyn and Rachel Smilansky of Rhode Island to earn a spot into the next qualifying stage.

With an early elimination of Lee, only four Knights were scheduled for the opening round in the main singles bracket.

The first player in the agenda was freshman Maya Jacobs who faced Anna Grigoryan from LIU-Brooklyn in a 3-2 match. The game was interrupted due to an injury that left Jacobs without options to continue advancing in the tournament.

Senior Mingxiu Du confronted Melanie Allen of Army in her single opening match. Du struggled the first set with a score of 6-1 but rapidly reacted with a couple of winning 6-2, 6-3 sets. The victory allowed Du to advance and meet Princeton’s Katrine Steffensen.

It was sophomore Kat Muzik's turn to make an appearance at the championship. Muzik had a slow start against Mya Fuentes of Drexel by dropping the first set on a 6-4 score. However, Muzik bounced back in a pair of 6-4, 6-3 successful sets to move on to the second round, where Miranda Ramirez of Syracuse awaited Rutgers.

After two intense qualifier matches, Cochrane made her debut at the main singles draw against Tiffany Chen of Princeton. Cochrane hit first with a 6-3 set before falling 6-1 in the second. The game was forced to a third set in which both of these players exchanged powerful shots.

The final set needed Cochrane or Chen reached seven points or a win by two, but this was not enough. Cochrane ultimately beat Chen in a frenetic 8-6 tiebreaker triumph with a pass to the next phase and challenge Tanja Stojanovska from Buffalo.

Rutgers’ doubles participation suffered a pair of early eliminations with Du and Cochrane losing 8-6 to Boston College while Jacobs and Muzik snapped against Dartmouth with an 8-3 setback in the second round.

After a test of early season endurance for Rutgers, three Knights earned spots in the even more competitive Round of 64 where all competitors were eliminated from the main singles bracket.

Du was bounced from the draw following a 6-2, 6-0 loss to Steffensen while Muzik dropped a 6-0, 6-0 match to Ramirez.

Even though Cochrane registered three wins in a row before facing Stojanovska, the Rutgers’ sophomore fell in a 6-1, 6-0 defeat to finalize her participation at the event.

The team will be back in action on Nov. 3-5 at the Buffalo Invitational.

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

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