PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Sept. 11, 2012) – The Rutgers tennis team will begin its fall scrimmage slate as it hosts NJIT on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. The exhibition will take place at the Rutgers Tennis Complex.
“We’re really excited about our first competition against NJIT,” said 10th-year head coach Ben Bucca. “It’s one thing to be practicing, but there’s nothing like competing against another school.”
The team compiled 13 wins last spring and a spot in the BIG EAST Championships. Rutgers is scheduled to compete in three tournaments, one home match and one away match this fall. The squad returns five players from the spring 2012 roster and has added three freshmen. The team does not have any seniors, and is led by juniors Stefania Balasa (East Brunswick, N.J.) and Vanessa Petrini (Stamford, Conn.).
Balasa compiled a 13-9 record last season, including 8-2 in the BIG EAST. Petrini matched Balasa’s win total, going 13-8 with a 6-4 record in the conference, while also being named to the All-BIG EAST Women’s Tennis Team. Sophomores Lindsay Balsamo (Wall, N.J.), who went 13-7 overall and 8-2 in league play, Noor Judeh (Potomac, Md.) and Satreethai Sasinin (New Brunswick, N.J.) are also key returnees.
The newcomers include Lindsey Kayati (Monroeville, N.J.), Gina Li (Hillsborough, N.J.) and Mariam Zein (Sugarland, Texas). Li and Zein were named 2012 National High School Tennis All-Americans by the National High School Tennis All-American Foundation (NHSTAAF). A Hillsborough, N.J., native, Li was the Somerset County singles champion, First Team All-County, First Team All-group IV and Second Team All-State. Zein won the Texas 5A girls singles title. Kayati, who hails from Monroeville, N.J., was the final member of the 28th-ranked recruiting class nationally according to Tennis Recruiting Network’s 2012 Winter Rankings.
The Highlanders come to “The Banks” after finishing the 2012 season with a 21-3 record, including a 14-0 mark at home. They return a lot of talent, including Monika Graff (23-4 in 2012), Jana Luste (20-3) and Caroline Zanotta (23-4). NJIT is coached by Mike Sowter.
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