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Tennis team sweeps Holy Cross to start season

It was a clean sweep for the Massachusetts tennis team  as they began their season with a commanding 7-0 win at Holy Cross yesterday.

UMass coach Judy Dixon said the match was good in some spots and shaky in others. She said the weather conditions, especially temperatures under 50 degrees, were less than ideal for tennis.

“I’m glad this one is behind us,” she said. “I feel we have some work to do, but we’re certainly up to the task.”

Dixon pointed to her captain, senior Maude Lecluyse, as being the driving force behind the team’s victory.

“She led the gang through this first meet,” said Dixon. “In general, I have to give the nod to her. She set the tone for the team.”

The score in yesterday’s match was identical to a match in March 2008 in which the Minutewomen crushed the Crusaders (1-3) in both doubles and singles. In yesterday’s match, like the last time these two teams faced off, UMass (1-0) gained their victory without losing a single set.

Unlike last year’s dominance, the Minutewomen double teams had to dig deep yesterday to come up with three quality wins.

Lecluyse and Candynce Boney, who recently won the No. 1 doubles championship at the Eastern Collegiate Invitational, defeated Kristen Meahl and Carolyn Chandley 8-6 in a hard-fought match.

The No. 2 doubles team, Magdalena Ploch and Julia Comas, had no trouble defeating Emily Marr and Emma Rudnik 8-0.

Another competitive match came from the No. 3 doubles team, as Tanisha Hodgson and Chantal Swiszcz beat Crusaders Kathryn Wilkie and Jen Daffron, 8-4.

Dixon was pleased to see Swiszcz, who recently returned from injury, contribute to a doubles victory.

“She did a fine job in her first match,” said the coach.

In No. 1 singles play, Ploch, last year’s Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year, started her season off with a commanding win over Meahl, 6-1, 6-0.

Already achieving an 8-0 doubles win earlier in the afternoon, the freshman Comas put on a show in her first official singles match. In the No. 2 singles match, she shut out the opposing Chandley, 6-0, 6-0.

“I was extremely impressed with Julia,” Dixon said. “It’s clear she’ll provide a lot of strength for our lineup at the top.”

The No. 3 singles pitted Boney against Marr, and the UMass junior came up with the victory, 6-4, 6-2.

Lecluyse defeated her opponent in two straight sets, defeating Ivette Konopka in the No. 4 singles, 6-0, 6-3.

In the No. 5 singles match, junior Kaitlyn Carpenter beat Wilkie, 6-1, 6-0.

Already having faced off in a doubles match, Hodgson defeated Daffron for the second time, in the No. 6 singles match.

Before the season, Dixon said her team’s depth impressed her. This was evident in the first match as six players contributed to set victories.

The Minutewomen play their first home match of the season next Wednesday against Connecticut. In Sept. 2007, the Minutewomen defeated the Huskies in a competitive 4-3 match.

Chris Shores can be reached at cshores@dailycollegian.com.

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