PISCATAWAY, NJ - The Rutgers women’s tennis team earned the fifth seed in the 2003 BIG EAST Championships this Friday-Sunday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Complex in Coral Gables, FL, the league office announced on Monday. The seed pairs the Scarlet Knights with fourth-seeded Virginia Tech on in the tournament’s opening match on Friday at 9 a.m. The winner receives the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, May 15-24 at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.
Rutgers closed the regular season with seven-straight victories, including shutouts in its final three matches. The Scarlet Knight women enter the tournament with a 13-6 record overall and 9-2 in conference matches.
Leading the way for the Scarlet Knights is freshman Alina Balasa (East Brunswick, NJ), who is currently on a ten-match winning streak. She owns a 14-3 record in the spring, playing all her dual matches at No. 4 singles. Senior co-captain Carissa Sommerlad (Bradley Beach, NJ) is second on the team with 13 wins this spring, playing most of her matches at the No. 2 singles position. The No. 2 doubles team of senior co-captain Jennifer Hellier (Annapolis, MD) and freshman Ketevan Shmakova (Dover, NJ) lead the Scarlet Knights in doubles victories this spring with 12.
In its lone meeting this season, Rutgers lost to Virginia Tech, 6-1, at the East Brunswick Tennis Center on Feb. 21.
This marks the second consecutive year the Scarlet Knight women have qualified for the BIG EAST Championships. The team will look to send head coach Marian Rosenwasser, who announced her retirement earlier in the week, out with a conference title. Rosenwasser announced she is retiring as head coach of the Scarlet Knight women effective July 1. She will stay on as an assistant in the program and current RU assistant coach Ben Bucca will take over the helm of the Scarlet Knights women’s team.
Should Rutgers advance past the Hokies, they will play top-seeded Miami in the semifinals on Saturday, April 26 at 9 a.m.