Minutewomen win again, defeat Huskies
Led by another dominating performance by the double squads, the Massachusetts tennis team defeated Connecticut 4-3 Thursday.
The win was of special significance for the Minutewomen (2-0) as it was their home opener of the 2009 season. It also came against the Huskies (1-1), a team that UMass has had a rivalry with in recent years.
Despite the solid performance by the doubles and the top three singles, Coach Judy Dixon was frustrated by the lack of mental toughness and execution in the singles matches. A combination of nerves and the fact that the game was postponed a day later from its original scheduled time may have been part of the cause of these mental errors.
“Our effort was there,” Dixon said. “We came up with the win, and now we know what we have to work on.”
Maude Lecluyse and Candynce Boney took care of business yet again in the No. 1 doubles match, defeating seniors Kelley LoRusso and Alison Campitiello with a score of 8-4.
Huskies Emily Herb and Lauren Wilmarth were no match for the powerhouse machine of Magdalena Ploch and Julia Comas. The UMass pair defeated their opponents 8-2 in No. 2 doubles play.
Representing the Minutewomen in the No. 3 doubles match were Tanisha Hodgson and Kaitlyn Carpenter. The duo beat sophomore Alexa Gregory and freshman Abby McKeon with a score of 8-4.
In the No. 1 singles, Ploch took care of business beating LoRusso in two straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.
Freshman Comas, the Minutewomen representative in the No. 2 singles match, continued the superb start to her collegiate career with a win against Herb, 6-1, 6-1.
Boney defeated Campitiello for the second time that afternoon with her win in the No. 3 singles match, 6-3, 6-1.
The rest of the victories went to the Huskies, as UMass took losses in No. 4, 5 and 6 singles play.
Captain Lecluyse, successful in the No. 1 doubles earlier in the day, came up short in the No. 4 singles match. Huskies freshman Wilmarth defeated her, 6-4, 7-5. Lecluyse missed balls on her forehand side, which is usually her strength, said Dixon. She was unable to adjust as the match went on.
In the No. 5 singles match, Carpenter suffered an injury but managed to finish the match. The hard fought battle went to Gregory who pulled out the victory in three sets, 6-1, 1-6, 10-8.
Carpenter has had a lingering hip injury since the summer and it was aggravated during the match, said the coach. She will have to rest it for a few days and then rehab.
McKeon defeated Minutewoman Hodgson in the No. 6 singles match in two straight sets, 6-4, 7-5, a loss that Dixon attributed to poor shot selection.
Assistant Coach Juancarlos Nunez said that the team had been preparing to play a hard fought match against UConn. In particular, they expected a strong outing from the bottom of the Huskies’ lineup.
Despite their preparation, UMass was unable to stop the lower half of Connecticut’s lineup. Dixon has said that for her team to be successful, they need to be able to win from the bottom up.
The solid effort by the Minutewomen’s top three proved again to be enough to pull out a victory. Ploch, Comas and Boney remain undefeated this year in both singles and doubles play.
UMass now prepares for two upcoming home matches next week. The Minutewomen will take on the Rhode Island, Wednesday, and Fordham, Friday.
“We need to keep working hard every day,” said Nunez. “We need to work on being aggressive and staying mentally tough.”
Chris Shores can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.