Rutgers Tennis finally picked up their first Big Ten Conference win of the season (and first win since they began playing in the Big Ten two years ago), as they defeated Penn State, 5-2, behind strong wins from Mingxiu Du, Ksenija Tihomirova, Katherine Muzik, and Farris Cunningham in singles play, while Du/Muzik and Cunningham/Jacqueline Cochrane secured doubles wins.
Du clinched the match for the team as she defeated Penn State’s Katia Blik in straight sets, 7-6(3), 6-4. Seniors Tihomirova and Cunningham, and rookie Muzik also won their singles matches. Both Tihomirova and Cunningham won in straight sets: Tihomirova pulled out a 6-1, 7-5 win over Devan McClusky, while Cunningham won her match 6-4, 6-1 over Bennet Dunn and was the first one to finish. Muzik needed three sets to win; she dropped the first set 3-6 but came back to win the next two 6-2, 6-4 and the match. Cunningham and Muzik both have seven singles victories this season. Cunningham has now won three straight singles matches against Penn State, Ohio State, and Northwestern.
Du/Muzik quickly defeated Jacqueline Zuhse/Dunn 6-1, while Cunningham/Cochrane also picked up a doubles victory, winning 6-4 over McClusky/Shannon Hanley. Chloe Lee and Lee Levy fell to Blik/Samantha Smith, 6-2. Cochrane and Cunningham have a 9-3 doubles record this season, and have recorded Big Ten wins over Penn State, Northwestern, and Indiana.
Head Coach Hilary Ritchie commented on the team’s gutsy win, saying, “This was truly a team effort. The team has worked hard and they earned this victory. We know we need to keep working, but I’m very proud of what they were able to do out there today.”
Rutgers (6-9) takes on No. 9 Michigan at home on Friday. They will then face Michigan State on Sunday, and their next non-conference opponent in Stony Brook on Wednesday, April 12th. Rutgers fell to both Michigan and Michigan State last season, 0-7 and 2-5, respectively, but will look to pick up more B1G wins the rest of this season. For a full preview on Friday’s match against #9 Michigan, click here.