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May 10, 2017

UMass tennis splits weekend matches in Washington D.C.

(Jong Man Kim/Collegian)

The Massachusetts tennis team traveled to the nation’s capital last Thursday afternoon for back-to-back matches against Georgetown and George Washington Friday and Saturday and split the weekend series.

It was a quick turnaround after a frustrating loss against the Hoyas on Friday for the Minutewomen as they had to get ready for their first Atlantic 10 match on Saturday afternoon against the Colonials. Not only was it their first conference match, it was a match against a team that put an end to their conference title hopes last season.

“This was a revenge match [for us],” UMass coach Judy Dixon said.

Ana Yrazusta, Ruth Crawford and Janja Kovacevic, the three players that had the best performances on Friday, carried the Minutewomen through Saturday to a 6-1 win. The Minutewomen took five of six singles matches as both Brittany Collens and Anna Woosley won their matches.

In doubles play, UMass took two of three for the second straight day with the same two pairings garnering victories. Kovacevic and Yrazusta stayed undefeated in doubles in this brief five-match season thus far.

Dixon was proud of her team’s effort on the back-to-back and their ability to put the Georgetown loss behind them.

“We found toughness on Saturday,” she said. “It was not that they bounced back, it was more like they kept going. The weekend belongs to the top-three: Yrazusta, Crawford and Kovacevic, potentially the best top-three in the conference.”

Friday afternoon’s match against Georgetown was an extremely tight contest, with the Hoyas coming out on top with a 4-3 victory. Victoire Saperstein of Georgetown and the Minutewomen’s Crawford had a match for the ages that lasted nearly three hours. After dropping the first match 7-6, Crawford came back to win in round two 6-4. She came within game point in the final match, however Saperstein was able to fight off defeat and get the win, which would end up being the deciding factor of the afternoon.

“Friday was so close that Ruth Crawford had match point to win and didn’t convert,” Minutewomen head coach Judy Dixon said. “The difference in this match was just that we needed to be competitively tougher in certain matches.”

The combination of Yrazusta, a junior, and Kovacevic, a freshman, continued their dominance with victories in singles and doubles play. Yrazusta won her first match decisively 6-1, and lost the next by the same score before finishing the job with a 6-4 victory. Kovacevic had a clean sweep winning 7-6, 6-3. Yrazusta and Kovacevic were the only Minutewomen to win in singles play.

Along with Yrazusta and Kovacevic, the doubles pair of Collens, a senior, and freshman Ashley Avery came away with a victory, giving UMass the edge in doubles.

After the road trip, the Minutewomen are back home and have a week of rest before another weekend of matches. UMass hosts Boston College and Army at the Bay Road Tennis Center Saturday and Sunday.

Jake Mackey can be reached at jacobmackey@umass.edu.

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