TAMPA, FLA. (April 18, 2014) – In the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Championships, the No. 5 seeded Rutgers tennis team (16-4, 3-1 AAC) upset No. 4 Louisville (12-5, 2-1 AAC), 4-2, Friday afternoon at the Andros Courts on the campus of the University of South Florida. The win marks RU’s first victory over a ranked opponent this season, as the Cardinals entered the match ranked No. 56 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll.
“This was a great win, as the team played with incredible determination,” said head coach Ben Bucca, Jr. “It was great to see a comeback after losing the doubles match and playing fantastic tennis to win four of the singles matches. All the ladies played well, but we were led once again by our seniors, Vanessa Petrini and Stef Balasa, who played great tennis in their singles matches. To earn our first win over a nationally ranked team at the conference championships is a significant accomplishment for our program. We’re very pleased with the result and look forward to continuing this great season tomorrow against Houston.”
After dropping the doubles point, Rutgers rebounded by winning four of the five singles matches played, with the No. 6 match ending in a no-decision.
Sophomore Lindsey Kayati’s (Monroeville, N.J.) victory at No. 3 proved to be the deciding match, as the first team to earn four points overall wins.
Kayati defeated Louisville’s Manuela Velasquez, 7-4 (6), 6-2.
Senior co-captain Vanessa Petrini (Stamford, Conn.) earned a 6-3, 6-0 win over Julia Fellerhoff at the No. 1 slot. After a loss at No. 2 for RU, senior co-captain Stefania Balasa (East Brunswick, N.J.) downed Elle Stokes, 6-4, 6-4 at No. 4.
Junior Lindsay Balsamo (Wall, N.J.) recorded a win over Cassie Pough, 6-3, 6-2 at No. 5.
The victory for Rutgers avenges an earlier loss to Louisville during the regular season. RU fell to the Cardinals on Feb. 21, 6-1, to mark the Scarlet Knights’ lone defeat in conference play.
Bucca’s squad has now won eight-straight matches, and 13 of its last 14.
Rutgers moves on to face No. 1 Houston on Saturday, April 19 in the semifinals at noon.
Rutgers 4, Louisville 2
1. Manuela Velasquez/Rebecca Shine (LOU) def. Vanessa Petrini/Lindsey Kayati (RU): 8-4*
2. Julia Fellerhoff/Elle Stokes (LOU) def. Lindsay Balsamo/Mariam Zein (RU): 8-3
3. Olivia Boesing/Rebecca Bodine (LOU) vs. Gina Li/Farris Cunningham (RU): DNF
1. Vanessa Petrini (RU) def. Julia Fellerhoff (LOU): 6-3, 6-0
2. Rebecca Shine (LOU) def. Gina Li (RU): 6-1, 6-0
3. Lindsey Kayati (RU) def. Manuela Velasquez (LOU): 7-6 (4), 6-2*
4. Stefania Balasa (RU) def. Elle Stokes (LOU): 6-4, 6-4
5. Lindsay Balsamo (RU) def. Cassie Pough (LOU): 6-3, 6-2
6. Olivia Boesing (LOU) vs. Mariam Zein (RU): DNF
Match Duration: 2:52
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