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Rutgers' 3-game winning streak snapped at Maryland

Having a mixed set of results over its Maryland road trip, the Rutgers tennis team dominated Towson (2-7) with a 7-0 win on Friday, but fell just as hard to the Terrapins (3-8, 1-0) in a 6-1 loss the next day.

The Scarlet Knights (6-3, 1-1) first served things up against Towson with a clean sweep of the doubles point and all the singles points.

Freshman Sydney Kaplan and junior team captain Jaci Cochrane got the ball rolling with a 6-2 victory at the No. 2 spot. Also recording a 6-2 win against the Tigers was sophomore Isabelle Da Silva and freshman Kristiana Zahare for the No. 3 position. 

Finishing off the third and final doubles match was the duo of junior Kat Muzik and freshman Tess Fisher to close out the doubles point for the early lead. 

The Knights were able to maintain their momentum into singles play, starting with Zahare’s commanding 6-0, 6-1 victory for the No. 6 spot. Kaplan and Cochrane followed to claim the No. 3 and No. 4 positions in 6-2, 6-1 wins against Towson. 

Securing the top two singles spots, Muzik defeated the Tigers’ Alexa Martinez 6-0, 6-4 at the top of the column. Fisher was hook, line and sinker at the No. 2 spot with a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Clinching the match against Towson was Da Silva, who fought for every point in a 7-5, 6-4 battle to capture the No. 5 and final sport for Rutgers.

"We came out today with a lot of energy. I think that really set the tone right from first point in doubles and then it transitioned into singles," Da Silva said, according to scarletknights.com. "Our sweep win today was really great for our confidence leading to our upcoming Big Ten season."

A short drive and a good night’s sleep later, the Knights were up and running at full capacity again to take on their first Big Ten foe, Maryland. 

Rutgers kept the same pairs going into Saturday afternoon’s match, but they were no match for the Terrapins in their home court. Fisher and Muzik as well as Zahare and Da Silva both lost their doubles match in similar sets of 3-6 at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots. 

Cochrane and Kaplan were down 4-5 before they left the match unfinished at the No. 2 position.

Moving onto singles play, the Knights usually can bounce back pretty well in their own matches, but Rutgers struggled to put together as dominant of a performance as it did against Towson.

All of the Knights competed in the same lineup as Friday with Cochrane being the only one to claim a singles win at the No. 4 position. She held on a tough fight and came storming back on the court to win against Maryland’s Amelle Sullivan in sets of 2-6, 6-4 and 7-6 (7-0). 

Muzik fell at the No. 1 spot in sets of 1-6, 4-6 while Fisher dropped her second seed to the Terrapin’s Millie Stretton (2-6, 4-6). Kaplan also took a hard push back to Maryland’s Anastasiia Gevel in quick sets of 0-6, 2-6. Zahare added to the load of losses with a 2-6, 4-6 loss at the No. 6 position.

Da Silva was the only Knight to win the first set against a Terrapin in 6-4, but couldn’t close out the match. She lost the second and third sets 4-6, 6-10.

Next up, Rutgers will take a Big Ten weekend up for grabs in its home court. The Knights will rally against Minnesota on Friday at 12:30 p.m. and Wisconsin on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the East Brunswick Racquet Club. 

The Gophers (7-6, 0-1) are coming off of back-to-back wins against Drake and Iowa State that were won on the same day this past weekend. Rutgers will be Minnesota’s first in a line of conference competitors.

With their most recent win against the Gophers (5-2), the Badgers (8-2, 1-0) will have been on a three-week hiatus before returning to the court. Wisconsin will compete against Maryland before playing the Knights on the following day.

For now, Rutgers have the week to prepare for its first double conference matchup to start off its spring break.

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

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