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UMass downs URI at home to stay undefeated

tennisAThe Massachusetts tennis team avenged last year’s loss in a dominating fashion yesterday, as it defeated the Rhode Island Rams 7-0 at home in Amherst. UMass (3-0) stayed undefeated with the win, while also handing Rhode Island (3-1) their first loss of the season.

“This was a really good win for us. URI was undefeated,” said UMass coach Judy Dixon. “I’m really happy with today’s performance.” Before today, the Rams were undefeated in their three previous contests this year. The Minutewomen never trailed as they swept all seven matches.

No. 1 singles player Magdalena Ploch defeated Kirsten Leikem 6-2, 6-1 in straight sets. “Maggie played spectacular tennis today,” said Coach Dixon. “She really got into the kid’s head out there.” Ploch improved her record to 1-0 against Rhode Island with the win. As a freshman last year, she did not compete in the match against the Rams.

No. 2 singles player Julia Comas and No. 6 singles performer Tanisha Hodgson both overcame strong opponents, coming from behind to earn victories. Comas defeated Pam Emery 7-6(5), 6-1, while Hodgson overcame a first-set loss to beat Brooke Hoover 4-6, 6-4, 1-0(10-6).

“Tanisha and Julia were the come-from-behind-kids today,” said Coach Dixon.

The Minutewomen also took the other three singles matches. No. 3 player Candynce Boney learned from last year’s loss to Kirsten Leikem at No. 1 singles as she defeated Tristany Leikem 6-2, 6-3. In No. 4 singles, senior captain Maude Lecluyse beat Christen Cadigan 6-4. 6-2. Kaitlyn Carpenter, who defeated Cadigan last year at No. 2 singles, triumphed over Amanda Barletta 6-1, 6-2.

Before their success in singles action, UMass started off on the right foot with its doubles play. Ploch and Comas teamed up to beat Kirsten and Tristany Leikem 8-3. Thus far this year, Ploch and Comas are undefeated when playing together.

Boney and Lecluyse won a battle with Cadigan and Hoover, as they took their match at No. 2 doubles 9-8(4). The UMass veterans showed their determination as they won a 7-4 tiebreaker to win the match.

The mental fortitude of her team after the win pleased Coach Dixon.

“The kids showed great mental toughness out there. We fought from behind,” said Coach Dixon. “It was freezing, but we beat a team that beat us 4-3 last year.”

The Minutewomen now turn their eyes to the future.

“[This win] puts us in the top third of the A-10,” said Coach Dixon. The team looks to prove this when they return to action at the ITA Regional Championships.

These matches will be played at Yale University from Saturday, Oct. 24 to Monday, Oct. 26. Previously scheduled matches against Fordham in Amherst and at Albany are postponed due to predictions of inclement weather over the next several days. New dates and times will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

Ben Lambert can be reached at wlambert@student.umass.edu

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