Another one bites the dust. For its first Big Ten match on the road, the Rutgers tennis team couldn’t deliver a single point against Minnesota on Friday. The Scarlet Knights (8-4, 0-3) were swept 7-0 by the Golden Gophers (11-3, 2-0), closing out all of their singles matches within two sets.
In doubles play, "KatFish" duo senior Kat Muzik and sophomore Tess Fisher fell 6-2 at the No. 2 spot against Minnesota’s Delila Said and Ekin Ercetin. Sophomore Sydney Kaplan and senior Jaci Cochrane also lost 6-2 in their match against the Gophers’ Tiffany Huber and Juliet Zhang at No. 3.
Since Minnesota clinched the doubles point, sophomore Kristiana Zahare and junior Maya Jacobs were unable to complete their match at the No. 1 spot. They were ahead 5-4, but left the court with their match incomplete.
After a short break, Rutgers was getting picked off one by one.
Facing the Gophers’ Huber in singles play, Kaplan lost in straight sets of 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 3 position. Similarly, both Jacobs and Zahare fell 6-2, 6-2 at the top and bottom of the lineup.
The senior squad also had no luck in their singles matches. At the No. 4 spot, Muzik took a 6-4, 6-2 loss against Minnesota’s Ekin Ercetin, while Cochrane swapped Muzik’s scoring sets for a 6-2, 6-4 loss against the Gophers’ Cammy Frei at No. 5.
A push for a third set fell through the cracks for Fisher, who dropped a 6-4, 7-5 effort to Minnesota’s Tina Krienis at the No. 2 position.
The Gophers are one of the toughest teams in the nation and captured a 4-3 win against No. 21 Wisconsin the next day. The Knights weren’t able to succeed in such a difficult conference road match.
Spring Break Training Trip
Luckily for Rutgers, it is moving away from Big Ten play over the next week and will travel down south. There, the Knights will compete against Bradley on Mar. 16 and Coastal Carolina on Mar. 18 at the Stevens Tennis Complex in Conway, South Carolina.
In the past, Rutgers has done similar training trips over spring break, where it has played lower-level competition in the area. Along with rigorous prep before Big Ten matches begin, the Knights will look to spark some confidence by winning both matches on the eve of the conference season.
Last year, Rutgers traveled to New Orleans, where it trained and nearly swept Southern University and Binghamton. Both matches acted as big confidence boosters for the Knights as Big Ten foes approached.
This time around, Rutgers will likely be looking to repeat its success while training on the road.
During their time away from school, the Knights will hone into their craft in an exciting setting. Working on small details and applying pressure where it counts are all tools that Rutgers will have to work on and carry through to Big Ten play.
The Big Ten is one of the toughest conferences in the nation. The Knights have been grinding day in and day out for their chance to break some major ground in it.
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