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May 4, 2017

UMass tennis gets two Atlantic 10 victories over weekend

(Jong Man Kim/Collegian)

The Massachusetts tennis team had its first and only outdoor home match of the season Sunday afternoon at Mullins Center tennis courts.

The Minutewomen (9-7, 4-0 Atlantic 10) bested Fordham (18-3, 3-1 A-10) on their senior day by a 5-2 margin, UMass’ first match in Amherst since Feb. 19.

“Against Fordham, who is tough, we competed well and won the doubles point which is always positive for us” Minutewomen coach Judy Dixon said.

UMass had a clean sweep in doubles play, with victories from sophomore Ruth Crawford and senior Anna Woosley, junior Ana Yrazusta and freshmen Janja Kovacevic and junior Laura Moreno and senior Brittany Collens.

Kovacevic and Yrazusta continued their impressive season as the improved to 6-1 on the year, while Moreno and Collens improved their record to 5-1. Crawford, Yrazusta, Moreno and Collens all had victories in singles play as well. Kovacevic and Anna Woosley both dropped their singles matches in three sets.

Before the match, seniors Collens, Woosley and Julia Larson were honored in their final home match. Most notably, it was the final home match for Dixon in her storied 25 year UMass career. Dixon will not reflect on her senior class until the season is over.

Minutewomen down Rams

The Minutewomen took all six singles play matches over conference foe Rhode Island in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts a day prior on Saturday.

“We drove to Rhode Island and then it rained and we were forced to drive another hour to play indoors,” Dixon said. “The team just wanted to get on with it after waiting for weeks to play and then driving so far.”

Kovacevic, Crawford, Woosley, Yrazusta, Moreno and Collens all secured victories on the afternoon. Collens improved her win total on the season to 18, the most on the team, with a straight-set victory.

“We are the better team and we played that way,” Dixon said. “We started with singles because of the time crunch indoors and won the match in singles so that doubles were unnecessary.”

After the weekend slate of matches, the Minutewomen finished their regular season with a 9-7 overall record and a 4-0 record in the A-10.

The A-10 championships will take place this week in Orlando, Florida, with matches set to begin on Wednesday.

“We feel ready for the A-10s and we’ll be seeded No. 2 behind Virginia Commonwealth,” Dixon said. “We are ready to begin on Thursday at 4 p.m. The weather will play a factor as it will be 90 degrees.”

Weather will certainly be a factor for a team that has played the majority of their matches in the Northeast. However, a trio of matches in South Carolina in March where UMass went 2-1 may help in terms of experience.

For the second straight year, the Minutewomen head into the A-10 tournament as the No. 2 seed. Last season ended abruptly, falling in round one to No. 7-seed George Washington by one point.

“The focus is not to get ahead of ourselves as we did last year and just to focus on what is front of us,” Dixon added.

Focusing on the match in front of them has been the message to the team from Dixon all season long, bringing the Minutewomen to an undefeated regular season conference record. UMass has yet to play VCU this season, and will face the Rams for the first time Thursday.

Action kicks off for the Minutewomen at 4 p.m. Thursday in Florida.

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

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