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Rutgers defeats Brown 5-2 for 3rd win of season

The Rutgers tennis team took down Brown in a 5-2 win last Saturday evening at the East Brunswick Racquet Club. The Scarlet Knights (3-1) were able to claim a victory over their Ivy League opponent after falling to Army last weekend in a close 4-3 matchup.

“This was an important win,” said head coach Hilary Ritchie, according to scarletknights.com. “The Ivy League is always tough in our region. It was good for the ladies to come out and fight and finish like they did."

Rutgers has struggled to claim doubles points all season but it outplayed the Bears (4-6) in all of its doubles matches. Team captains sophomore Maya Jacobs and junior Jaci Cochrane teamed up to defeat Brown's doubles team with 6-1 while freshmen Sydney Kaplan and Kristiana Zahare swept the Bears 6-0.

The duo of junior Kat Muzik and freshman Tess Fisher was on its way to a win against Brown, but the match was left unfinished in 4-3 after the two other doubles matches were completed.

"We have been fighting really hard in singles and doubles has been emphasized,” Ritchie said. “It was great to see them put into action what we have been talking about and working on.”

Jacobs claimed her fourth consecutive singles victory when she defeated the Bears’ Sophia Reddy. Jacobs put together a stellar 6-0, 6-2 performance for the No. 1 spot. 

Falling at the No. 2 position, Fisher lost to Brown’s Taylor Cosme 6-3, 6-4. Cochrane was also outplayed for the fifth spot against the Bears’ Julia Newman with a final score of 6-4, 6-1. 

Muzik, Kaplan and Zahare were able to come away with their own singles wins to contribute to the Knights’ 5-2 victory.

 Zahare defeated Brown’s Katie Ta in a 6-4, 6-3 match for the No. 6 spot while Kaplan closed out a similar match against the Bears’ Juliana Simon 6-3, 6-4.

Muzik secured the No. 2 spot by edging out Brown’s Ryan Peus in a close 7-5, 6-4.

 “Each match is an opportunity for us to come out on top," Jacobs said. "And (I) think we are doing a good job of staying focused and moving forward."

 Interestingly, this was the first competition where Rutgers didn’t have to play to three sets in any of its singles matches. The Knights have worked on closing out matches at the start and not settling in the second set. 

Rutgers knows how to finish strong in the third set, but being aggressive at the first serve through to the second set is something the Knights have struggled with.

Rutgers is quickly developing and implementing its skills into competition, which should help them to bode well for the rest of the season. Opponents will only get tougher, but the Knights are fired up to take them on.

Rutgers has a short turnaround as it will stay in New Jersey and head down Route 1 to face Princeton on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The in-state matchup will be the Knights' first mid-week competition of the season. 

The Tigers (5-3) have had a small break since competing at the ECAC Championships a week and a half ago against three other Ivy league teams.They held Cornell scoreless and defeated the Bears 4-1 in that tournament. Princeton ended the ECAC Championships final with a loss to Columbia, 4-1.

Additionally, the Tigers are strong in doubles and captured points in all of their matches against their Ivy League counterparts. A win against Princeton’s doubles pairs would be crucial in building the Knights’ confidence.

"We have such a long season we don't have time to worry about what happened last weekend,” Jacobs said. “You get right back to it every single day.” 

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

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