UMass tennis gets shut out against No.23 Dartmouth over weekend
The Massachusetts women’s tennis team suffered its first shutout defeat of the season Saturday afternoon, falling 7-0 at the hands of No. 23 Dartmouth.
The match in Hanover, New Hampshire was the second of UMass’ eight consecutive road matchups. There was a multitude of reasons why the Minutewomen (5-5) got out to a slow start, one of which was the environment they played in.
“We were a bit intimidated not just by the team but by the number of spectators — there were many — and the noise in the arena,” UMass head coach Judy Dixon said after the match. “By the time we settled into the match it was too late.”
The Minutewomen got off to a slow start when the usually solid combination of sophomore Ruth Crawford and senior Anna Woosley were shut out 6-0 in No. 1 doubles. Junior Ana Yrazusta and freshmen Janja Kovacevic, who suffered their first loss of the season last week, suffered yet another defeat in No. 2 doubles losing 6-4. Senior Brittany Collens and freshmen Ashley Avery fell 7-6 in No. 3 doubles.
Singles play was much of the same story for UMass as the No. 1, 5 and 6 singles matches ultimately put the Big Green (9-1) over the top. Both Woosley and Yrazusta lost in tie-breaking sets at matches three and five. This is the second time this season Dartmouth has won a match 7-0, the first being its first match against Boston University Jan. 21.
Each season has its fair share of ups and downs, and it is usually the downs where a team finds out what it is all about. In her 25 years of coaching, Dixon has just about seen it all and knows when to scold her team after a poor performance like this past Saturday’s, but it is not always best to lay into them.
“I am meeting with the team tomorrow before practice, hopefully outdoors for the first time since the end of October, and will tell them in this meeting that it’s now time to reset for the rest of the season,” Dixon said. “What is over is not retrievable and has no bearing on what we need to do in the next two months.”
The Minutewomen do not play another home match until April 23. Before then, UMass has six matches all on the road, which includes two Atlantic 10 matchups and a trio over spring break in Charleston, South Carolina against the College of Charleston, Samford and Davidson. The Minutewomen’s break from classes will consist of three matches over the span of four days.
This could be a measuring stick moment for a team who is struggling to find its way right now.
“We are halfway through our season and the most important segment is in front of us,” Dixon said. “Back to work starting Monday; we need to start getting used to being outdoors when we can and we are headed to Charleston on Saturday.”
All across sports, team road trips can be a great time for players to come together as a unit. This is the time for UMass after two straight losses and a tough stretch coming up. Nevertheless, the Minutewomen will look to take things one match at a time as their head coach preaches.
With that being said, the focus now is on their next match against the College of Charleston.
Jake Mackey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.