PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 15, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s tennis team (15-4, 3-1 AAC) will head to Tampa, Fla., for the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championships this week as the No. 5 seed. Rutgers, which won its final seven regular season matches, begins tournament play in the quarterfinals on Friday, April 18 against No. 4 seed Louisville (12-4, 2-1 AAC) at noon.
The 2014 American Athletic Championships begin on Thursday, April 17, with the championship match set for Sunday, April 20 at 10 a.m.
Should the Scarlet Knights defeat Louisville, they will play the winner of the No. 1 Houston vs. No. 8 Cincinnati/No. 9 UConn match on Saturday, April 19. Cincinnati and UConn will meet in the first round on April 17 at 9 a.m.
RU concluded the regular season by winning 12 of its last 13 matches.
One of Rutgers’ four losses on the season came against Louisville in AAC action on Friday, Feb. 21. The Scarlet Knights went 3-1 in conference play, with their wins coming over Cincinnati (Feb. 23), Temple (March 28) and UConn (April 3). RU edged the Bearcats, 4-3, and won decisively over the Owls and Huskies with identical scores of 6-1.
Rutgers fell to the Cardinals by a score of 6-1 in Louisville, Ky., as the hosts won two of the three doubles matches for the doubles point and went on to claim five of the six singles matchups.
In doubles play, the tandem of senior co-captain Vanessa Petrini (Stamford, Conn.) and rookie Farris Cunningham (Houston, Texas) downed Louisville’s Cassie Pough and Elle Stokes, 8-5, at the No. 3 slot. In solo action, second-year Scarlet Knight Lindsey Kayati (Monroeville, N.J.) defeated Pough, 7-6, 4-6, 1-0, at No. 4.
Kayati finished the campaign as RU’s leader in singles wins with 15 victories and a perfect 4-0 mark in league play. After opening the season with a combined 6-1 mark at No. 4 and No. 5, the sophomore finished out the season at No. 3, where she went 9-3 the rest of the way.
Also finishing with double-figure victories in singles play were senior co-captain Stefania Balasa (East Brunswick, N.J.), junior Lindsay Balsamo (Wall, N.J.), sophomore Gina Li (Hillsborough, N.J.) and Petrini, who each tallied 13 wins.
In doubles play, the team of Balsamo and sophomore Mariam Zein (Sugarland, Texas) saw the most success, totaling a team-best 12 wins.
Louisville is also coming off a successful regular season, as the Cardinals experienced an eight-match winning streak before closing out the campaign by winning three of five meetings. Louisville’s lone American loss came to the No. 2 seeded Memphis Tigers (5-2) on March 21.
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