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Minutewomen host Albany

The Massachusetts tennis team is coming off a string of solid victories as it takes on Albany at 2 p.m. this afternoon.

These two squads are on complete opposite sides of spectrum when it comes to recent success. The Minutewomen are on a four-match winning streak with their most recent victory on the road against Sacred Heart last Thursday while the Great Danes are entering today’s match with hopes of snapping a four-match losing streak after previously falling to UMBC, Jacksonville, UMKC and Florida Atlantic.

Albany not only can’t seem to bring home a win lately, it is also coming off devastating blows, including three 0-7 defeats, while UMass’ most recent matches have resulted in dominant 7-0 victories.

In the match against the Owls, the Great Danes’ only win of the day came at first doubles, with Laine Mackey and Livia Gherman earning a 6-3 default win over Erika Mrazkova and Dominique Wimmer. FAU came out strong and set the tone by winning the first two doubles matches.

Albany struggled to find some momentum of its own, but couldn’t seem to come up with any. The Owls continued to dominate, earning themselves the sweeping 7-0 victory.

UMass freshman Chantal Swiszcz from Rota, Spain, and her teammates feel confident going into today’s match-up.

“The team feels strong going into the match against Albany,” Swiszcz said. “We feel that we have depth in every position and that we will do really well. We look forward to finishing up the season strong in our next three games at home, especially since we have a great crowd.”

After recently losing its No. 1 player Magdalena Ploch, it was unclear whether or not the team would fill the void. Freshman Julia Comas filled the role as the No. 1 singles spot.

“We are over not having Ploch on the team anymore, we are all ready to move on,” said UMass coach Judy Dixon. “The match is going to be very close but I suspect we have a bit of an edge. We need to come out with passion, work hard, and play from the bottom-up.”

Comas continues to make a name for herself with a solid five-match winning streak. Her most recent victory at the No. 1 singles spot came in the match against the Pioneers, where she defeated Kate Donnelly in straight-sets, 6-1, 6-1.

Comas and Tanisha Hodgson were also successful against Elizabeth Harrington and Kristina Chao, winning their third straight doubles match, 8-1. Comas earned the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week award for last week’s play and continues to have impressive outings. 

“I was so happy because it was my first award here at UMass,” Comas said. “The first few games I was nervous because I had more pressure on me, but now I’m a lot less nervous.” 

Swiszcz noted Comas’s improvements since taking the top singles spot.

“Julia has stepped up into the No. 1 position and has been doing a great job,” said Swiszcz, who is currently on the sidelines due to a season-ending hip fracture that occurred in UMass’ tournament at Dartmouth in the fall.

The Minutewomen recently improved their overall record to 11-6. UMass gets to wrap up its last three regular season matches at home and after today’s match, they take on Boston University and Quinnipiac.

Kara Deyermenjian can be reached at kdeyerme@student.umass.edu.

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