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Rutgers falls to Brown, sweeps Rhode Island

On its road trip to the state of Rhode Island, the Rutgers women’s tennis team suffered its first loss of the season but swept the competition just a day later. The Scarlet Knights (3-1) fell 4-3 to Brown on Saturday before sweeping Rhode Island in a dominating 7-0 victory on Sunday.

Rutgers couldn’t keep up with the Bears (2-2) in doubles competition, which ultimately cost the Knights the win. Competing for the first time this season, senior Kat Muzik was back at it with sophomore Tess Fisher. The "KatFish" duo was the No. 2 seed, but was quickly defeated 6-1. 

Junior Maya Jacobs and senior Jaci Cochrane also paired up in the match. The duo fell in a 6-2 loss at the No. 3 spot. At the top of the doubles lineup, sophomores Sydney Jones and Kristiana Zahare were deadlocked with Brown at 4-4, but didn’t finish the match since Rutgers had already lost two of its doubles matches.

Continuing onto singles play, the Knights and the Bears were split 3-3. Since Brown had an early lead by securing the doubles point, the Bears ended up edging out Rutgers at the finish. 

Fisher and sophomore Sydney Kaplan won their respective games within two sets. No. 1 seed Fisher blew Brown’s Courtney Kowalsky out of the court with a 6-1, 6-1 victory. No. 4 seed Kaplan put together a similar match score of 6-2, 6-1. The last of the trio to come away with a singles win was Cochrane at the bottom of the lineup (6-3, 7-6 (6-0)).

"Over the past few weeks, we have been practicing really hard and it showed this weekend," Kaplan said. "We fought and played how we know how to play. We had great energy and pushed each other as a team."

The following day, the Knights swept every single match except for one against the Rams (0-2) in Newport, Rhode Island.

In doubles play, the one match that Rutgers wasn't able to take was at the No. 1 position. After coming off an unfinished, deadlocked match against the Bears the day before, Jones and Zahare fell 6-3 to Rhode Island's Erin Chratian and Mihaela Codreanu.

This time around, Fisher and Kaplan paired up for a 6-2 victory at the No. 2 spot while Jacobs and Cochrane turned their doubles loss from the day before into a dominant 6-1 win.

All of the Knights had a stronghold on their matches, which were led by a gritty, comeback performance by Fisher. The Vineland, New Jersey, native was the lone member of her team to drop their first set, but rallied back to secure the win at the top of the lineup (2-6, 7-5, 10-4). No. 6 seed Zahare won her match by default.

Competition is starting to heat up for Rutgers as the team will stay at home in a six-match stint at the East Brunswick Racquet Club until the end of the month. 

On Friday, the Knights will take on NJIT and Binghamton in a back-to-back brawl that will require Rutgers to compete at a consistently high level. The match against the Highlanders will take place at 10:30 a.m. with the Bearcats match following at 2:30 p.m.

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

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