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Friday, August 21, 2015

Minutewomen play last preseason tournament before their season begins

The Massachusetts tennis team will take to the courts looking to use last weekend’s success in the Harvard Fall Classic as a springboard for improvement this weekend.

Alex Mojcher/Collegian

Alex Mojcher/Collegian

Just one week after what UMass coach Judy Dixon called a, “successful weekend,” in the Harvard Fall Classic, her squad is trying to repeat its formula when the Eastern Collegiate Invitational begins in West Point, NY. on Friday.

The tournament is a popular one early in the season, and serves as another tune-up for not only the Minutewomen, but also other Atlantic 10 foes the team will face later in the season. Other A-10 teams attending the Invitational include Rhode Island and Fordham.

UMass will play all singles matches in the upcoming tournament. Playing in the A Division are sophomores Yuliana Motyl and Sonia Bokhari, a transfer student from Louisville.

Sophomore Jessica Podlofsky, who won the B Division singles championship in last weekend’s final over Temple, highlights the B Division along with last year’s winner at West Point, junior Julia Comas. Taking part in the C Division are junior Chantal Swiszcz and freshman Chanel Glasper. Finally, wrapping things up in the D Division is junior Jocelyn Providence and freshman Bianca Drabek, a native of Founex, Switzerland.

The Minutewomen come into this weekend’s tournament loaded with confidence after a strong showing in the Harvard Fall Classic. The squad had three players take part in the finals of their respective singles tournament, headlined by Podlofsky’s triumph in the Flight B Singles final.

Along with the success in the singles tournaments, the Minutewomen were also represented in the doubles category, as the partnership of Motyl and Swiszcz fell just short of winning the championship in the Flight A Doubles final.

The Minutewomen feature a core of young talent with only one senior remaining after graduating three players last year. The rest of their roster includes a trio of returning juniors, two returning sophomores, and six newcomers to the program. The newcomers are made up of five freshman and transfer Bokhari.

Despite being a young team, last week’s showing at Harvard served as an indicator of what could be a rebuilding year for the Maroon and White. The team especially looks to this weekend’s tournament at West Point to help continue to build that momentum getting closer to the start of the season.

The team is eager to play matches against other schools with the goal of making the A-10 championship at the end of the year.

“I am looking forward to getting better in match play, particularly closing out games and sets at crucial moments,” said Dixon. “We need to make the big moments count now as we close in on our dual match schedule.”

Although the Invitational does not count toward their regular season record, and has zero implications on their rankings, the Minutewomen still want to put together a strong performance in order to prepare for when the games will matter the most.

Nick Canelas can be reached at ncanelas@student.umass.edu.

 

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