UMass tennis splits weekend matches with Army, Boston College
Army West Point, winners of seven of its first 10 matches, awaited the four-win Massachusetts tennis team Sunday afternoon at the Bay Road Tennis Center in Amherst. UMass was ready for the Black Knights with only one day of rest, and left with a decisive 6-1 victory.
UMass coach Judy Dixon, in her final match at the venue as a UMass coach, was pleased with her team’s response Sunday.
“The Army match was a high intensity match,” Dixon said. “We needed to bring our energy to this match and we did. This is a match we should win but we needed to be ready from the start.”
UMass (5-3) got off to a hot start in singles play with sophomore Ruth Crawford, freshman Janja Kovacevic and junior Ana Yrazusta winning their matches in double sets. Senior Brittany Collens and junior Laura Moreno finished singles play for UMass, taking home wins in both of their matches.
Dixon knows doubles play can make or break matches and was excited with her team’s performance in doubles play specifically.
“The doubles played a huge part in our ability to keep Army at bay,” she said.
UMass swept doubles play against Army, as the dominate duo of Crawford and Anna Woosley stayed undefeated on the season, taking the first doubles, 6-1, and Yrazusta and Kovacevic won 6-3. Brittany Collens and Ashley Avery took their match by a 6-4 margin.
Dixon’s message to the team after the victory was simple: Don’t get too caught up in this one and continue taking things on a week-to-week basis.
“Don’t get too down or too up after any one match and remain focused on the process and the goal,” she said.
Eagles best Minutewomen
Saturday afternoon was a different story for UMass, as it fell 6-1 to the always impressive Boston College.
The Minutewomen’s doubles play was the highlight of the day, as they swept the Eagles, who are one of the better doubles team’s the nation has to offer.
“I was very happy with the doubles against Boston College. They had six doubles points in a row before losing the point to us, beating Brown, Dartmouth and Yale. Their only doubles loss had been to Virginia,” Dixon said.
Dixon rolled out the same doubles pairings that she did Sunday, with the exception of switching Avery for Lauren Moreno.
UMass lost all six of its singles matches. They were all in double sets with the exception of Yrazusta, who forced her match against freshmen Dana Possokhova to three sets.
“Boston College is a huge serving team who played with a lot of power and when we lost the first sets in those matches, they loosened up and went on a roll. They are a top-50 team who play in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference so this was a stretch for us. We competed well in certain matches and in others we just did not show up,” Dixon said.
It was a tough loss for the Minutewomen, however Dixon was able to get her team to respond quickly to get a win on Sunday.
“I didn’t do anything after the Boston College loss except remind the team that we are taking everything one match at a time” she said.
UMass has a week of preparation before its match on Saturday in New Haven, Connecticut against Yale. The Bulldogs, along with BC, are one of the benchmark programs in the nation, and ones that Dixon would certainly like to have her team emulate as she departs the program after 25 years after this season.
Jake Mackey can be reached at email@example.com.