Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutewomen hope to bounce back vs. Albany

By Jay Asser, Collegian Staff

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With payback on the mind, the Massachusetts tennis team will be back in action at home when it hosts Albany this Sunday at the Bay Road Tennis Club.

UMass (3-1) will look to get back on track after dropping its first match of the season to defending America East Champion Boston University (4-1) on Tuesday. Despite an impressive comeback by freshman Magdalena Ploch in her first match at No. 1 singles against last year’s America East Player of the Year, Francine Whu, the Minutewomen fell 5-2 to the Terriers.

Candynce Boney played her first match of the season not at the top slot, but instead at No. 2 singles. UMass tennis coach Judy Dixon stated that Boney was working on her confidence while being relegated. After the BU match, Dixon felt that she made progressions.

‘[Candynce] took a step in the right direction,’ Dixon said. ‘I feel she played better but she certainly still isn’t where she wants to be.’

Albany (5-0), meanwhile, has won its first five matches of the season and is coming off a 7-0 sweep against Atlantic 10 conference opponent, St. Bonaventure (2-4).

The Great Danes had a difficult time in winning both doubles matches, but managed to hold back the Bonnies for the 8-4, 8-6 victories at No. 1 and No. 2 positions respectively.

In an even match at No. 1 singles, Susan Ma was able to take down Manuela Marin of St. Bonaventure for the hard-fought 7-5, 1-6, 10-7 win. Albany overwhelmed the Bonnies at the No. 2 through No. 5 singles spots, combining to win 48 of a possible 52 total games.

In dominating fashion, Albany has lost only two points on the season, both coming in separate matches. Including their last match, the Great Danes have recorded three 7-0 sweeps on the season, two coming in consecutive meetings.

Dixon knows the team is in for a challenge, but feels confident the Minutewomen can bounce back, especially at home.

‘The match is at home so it gives us a shot to get back on track on our home turf,’ Dixon said.

UMass, though, will be short-handed once again.

‘Were playing without [Laura Danai] at No. 6 singles and that’s going to make it more difficult for us,’ Dixon said. ‘In order to win, we’ll need the middle of the lineup to step up and give us some relief.’

In the spring season opener last year, UMass had a collapsing defeat to these same Great Danes. The Minutewomen won all three doubles contests but dropped the No. 3 to No. 6 singles matches to lose 4-3. As close as UMass was to defeating Albany, they were unable to close the match out.

Though early in the season, this match could be the most significant so far.

‘We need to take care of business,’ Dixon said. ‘Albany will fight like crazy and the match could go either way. It’s going to be an even matchup and will be the one that separates, in this case, the women from the girls,’ Dixon said.

However, Dixon knows the team hasn’t forgotten what happened last season and is prepared to claim the victory that eluded them.

‘Last year we lost to them at their place after having two match points so this is a little bit of revenge and I hope were up to it.’

Jay Asser can be reached at [email protected]

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