Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass tennis off to a strong start, defeats LIU 6-1

In its first match returning to action, the Massachusetts women’s tennis team defeated Northeast Conference Finalist Long Island at home in the spring opener.

The Blackbirds (0-2), ranked second by head coaches in a recent NEC Preseason poll, fell to the Minutewomen (2-0) by a 6-1 score. UMass improved to 3-0 all time against LIU after winning all doubles matches and taking five of six singles matches.

The highlight of the day came from No. 3 doubles pair, Kaitlyn Carpenter and Lauren MacKay, who turned in a victory after falling in an early 0-5 hole.

‘I was stunned that they went down 5-0 in the span of five minutes. In the blink of an eye, I looked up and was shocked to see the score,’ said UMass coach Judy Dixon. ‘They both were very nervous and barely breathing. I told them they needed to get more shots on the court and have the other team play more balls.’

The duo made an impressive comeback to take the win over Stephanie Elie and H’Ann Johnson by an 8-5 score. Dixon spoke on Carpenter and MacKay’s effort.

‘They won one game, then another game and then kept it going. It’s very tough to come back from five games down in an eight game pro set,’ Dixon said.‘I give them a lot of credit because mentally it’s very difficult to do. I was really pleased at their ability to turn it around and fight back from the deficit.’

Winning by the same score at No. 1 doubles were Candynce Boney and Maude Lecluyse. The pair defeated Babich and Dora Lahens 8-5. At No. 2 doubles, Laura Danai and Tanisha Hodgson came out on top against Ashley Harvey and Amy Hosotsuji by an 8-3 score.

Kicking off singles play, Long Island‘s Elie, slated at the No. 3 slot, had to sit out due to an injury. This resulted in Liliana Cortes, Hosotsuji, and Lahens moving up a spot to Nos. 3, 4 and 5, which gave MacKay the default win at No. 6. Lecluyse took the first set 6-2 and was tied at three all in the second until Cortes pulled out, retiring.

No. 1 Boney dropped the first set 6-2 to Selma Babich. After fighting back in the second set, Boney eventually fell 6-4, giving the Minutewomen their only loss of the day.

Grinding out a tough win at No. 2 singles was Carpenter, who was victorious 7-5, 7-6 (1) over Harvey.

Also pulling out a hard-fought win was Hodgson at No. 4, who defeated Hosotsuji 6-3, 7-5. At No. 5, Danai added a victory beating Lahens 6-2, 6-1.

Dixon was impressed by her team’s performance coming out of the gate to begin the season.

‘I felt that our effort was really strong and that our play was as good as could be expected considering it was our first match and we haven’t competed since November,’ Dixon said. ‘Our intention and intensity was very good and the team play was right where it should be.’

However, she still feels there is room for improvement.

‘We needed to begin better and close out better towards the end’ Dixon said. ‘The kids were very nervous and that is to be expected. That usually is the case when you haven’t been mentally acclaimed to matches.’

UMass looks to continue their strong start to the season this Sunday when they host Atlantic 10 Conference opponent Fordham at the Bay Road Tennis Club.

Jay Asser can be reached at [email protected].

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