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UMass tennis takes two of three in South Carolina over break

Janja Kovacevic played tennis matches at the Bay Road Tennis Club on February 19. (Jong Man Kim/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts tennis team had its first real road trip of the season over spring break as it traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for three matches over a four-day stretch. The trip ended up being a good measuring stick moment for a team that was reeling after losing two straight heading into the week.

The Minutewomen (7-6, 2-0 Atlantic 10) wrapped up the trip on Friday with a 4-3 win over Atlantic 10 foe Davidson. The win improved UMass to over .500 on the season while Davidson, one of the better teams in the conference, fell to 10-3. The win was the second in A-10 play after defeating George Washington Feb. 11.

Freshman Janja Kovacevic and sophomore Ruth Crawford dropped the first two singles matches for the Minutewomen before junior Ana Yrazusta, senior Anna Woosley and senior Brittany Collens clinched victories to keep the Minutewomen in the game. However, junior Laura Moreno dropped singles No. 5 in three sets, which kept the two teams tied.

Doubles play was once again what put UMass over the top as it took two of three matches with victories from the pairings of Yrazusta and Kovacevic, and Collens and Moreno.

“Doubles was the key to the Davidson match,” Minutewomen coach Judy Dixon said.

“We knew that the Davidson match was the big one because last year they were in the A-10 finals plus we are all vying for a good seed for this year’s tournament,” Dixon added. “The Davidson match was a great college match with everyone contributing. They were very energetic and intense.”

Minutewomen sneak past Samford

The Minutewomen earned their first victory of the trip Thursday afternoon as they squeaked out another close win beating Samford 4-3. Doubles play would once again prove to be the difference maker as UMass took two of three matches with wins once again from Yrazusta and Kovacevic, and again from Collens and Moreno.

In singles play, the two teams played to a 3-3 draw. Nevertheless, in singles No. 6, UMass went down 3-2, needing to get a victory against Bulldog freshman Grace Jennings. Collens did so in two sets with a 7-6, 6-3 triumph.

“Beating Samford certainly was important for us and helped us be more ready for Davidson,” Dixon said.

Cougars trip up UMass to start week

UMass started the week on Tuesday losing its third straight match that stretched from Feb. 25 until Thursday, this one at the hands of the College of Charleston.

The match got out to a rough start for the Minutewomen as they dropped two of three sets in doubles play, with the only victory coming from Woosley and Crawford. However, Kovacevic, Crawford and Yrazusta rattled off three straight wins at the start of singles play to get UMass back in the match. Nevertheless, Woosley, Collens and Moreno dropped the last three singles matches, which would put Charleston over the top.

“We had five total match points to beat College of Charleston but could not convert,” Dixon said. “The weather was cold, rainy and windy so we only had two brief practices outdoors before we played them.”

The Minutewomen now travel back to Amherst for a week with no matches. The team will not play again until March 31, when they will travel to New York for two matches on back-to-back days against St. Johns and Stony Brook.

“This is the toughest time of the year with practice indoors and outdoors. I need to let the team relax for a few days and then gear up for New York,” Dixon said.

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

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