The Massachusetts tennis team closed out its fall season last weekend at the Big Green Invitational in Hanover, N.H., facing off against three of the strongest tennis teams in the Northeast.
The Minutewomen battled Dartmouth, Boston University and Yale in a format similar to that of a regular season match, only with four doubles matches instead of three and eight singles matches instead of six.
Against the Terriers on Saturday, UMass lost in doubles, with its only win coming from Jocelyn Providence and Gianna Francis in No. 4 doubles, but won in singles, 5-3.
UMass coach Judy Dixon, who considers doubles play to be one of the team’s particular strengths, was disappointed with the doubles loss, but said it was not indicative of how they would play in future matches.
Dixon said that she talked to the team in the five-minute break in between the doubles matches and the singles matches, and that the team’s turnaround in the singles matches is a sign of the team’s maturity.
“I think when you have a younger team, the coach getting angered would affect a younger team in a way that might not be effective,” Dixon said. “But I think when you have a more mature team, the coach is able to say their piece a little bit more and know that there will be a positive response, and that’s what happened.”
UMass had a full day on the first day of the tournament, taking on Yale in doubles before playing Dartmouth in doubles and singles. The Minutewomen got off to a rocky start, getting swept in their doubles match against the Bull Dogs. They tied the Big Green in doubles 2-2, getting wins from Arielle Griffin and Jessica Podlofsky in No. 2 Doubles and Sonia Bokhari and Chanel Glasper in No. 3 Doubles, but were defeated in singles 7-1.
UMass got swept by Yale in singles as well on Sunday, but Dixon said the team played much better in the singles matches.
Dixon said that overall, the team got better as they got to play more matches in the tournament, and thinks that will translate into a strong late season performance for the team once the spring season comes around.
“We typically play well at the end of the season, it sort of is what we do,” Dixon said. “We won’t burn out, and a lot of tennis teams do, because tennis is such a long season, but we are not a team that burns out. I think it’s because we’ve spent so much time on our fitness, and I do think it will translate well into us doing well at the end of the year.”
With this tournament over, the team won’t be playing again until Feb. 1 in the first match of spring season against Brown in Providence, R.I.
Dixon herself will be traveling to San Antonio on Saturday to compete in a national team tennis tournament for senior women. When she returns, she will spend the rest of the offseason recruiting.
Jesse Mayfield-Sheehan can be reached at jmayfielstudentumassedu and followed on Twitter @jgms88.