Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutewomen dominate weekend, look ahead to outdoor season

By Jay Asser

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After completing the majority of the season, the Massachusetts tennis team heads into spring break with momentum on their side after trouncing both Hofstra and Siena by a 7-0 score this weekend.

On Saturday, Hofstra (7-4) traveled to Amherst plagued by injuries, bringing only five players. This gave UMass a default point for a forfeited doubles match.

However, UMass coach Judy Dixon felt Hofstra’s injuries put her team in a difficult situation rather than at an advantage.

‘The Hofstra team was really struggling with injuries and illness, which makes the match hard to play,’ Dixon said. ‘We had to get beyond the fact that they showed up with only five people. That immediately raises expectations, putting the pressure on us.’

The Minutewomen (8-6) had little trouble though, as they split in doubles play and swept all five singles matches to defeat the Pride 7-0.

The No. 1 doubles team of Magdalena Ploch and Tanisha Hodgson faced UMass’ only difficulties of the day, falling 8-6 to Hofstra’s Stacey Kent and Lauren Clifton.

At No. 2, Maude Lecluyse and Laura Danai defeated Brooke Sailer and Christie Gattelaro, 8-6, earning the doubles point for the Minutewomen.

UMass was led in singles play by its top two players, Ploch and Candynce Boney, who claimed two decisive wins.

Ploch continued her strong rookie campaign, defeating Clifton 6-1, 6-1 to give her four wins at the No. 1 position, and an 8-6 overall record in singles matches.

At No. 2, Boney played well on her way to claiming the first set 6-2, and then earned the victory after her opponent, Gattelaro, retired.

Dixon was satisfied with how her team performed, knowing the circumstances were different than most matches it had played this season.

‘We did well enough in an unusual situation and played through the distractions,’ she said.

On Sunday, the Minutewomen carried over the momentum from the previous day to defeat Siena (2-5) by another 7-0 score. UMass failed to concede a set on the day, winning all three doubles matches and all six singles matches.

The duo of Danai and Lecluyse moved up to No. 1 doubles and pulled out a tough 8-6 win against Sarah Mayer and Danielle Crill. With the victory, the pair improved its undefeated record to 10-0.

The highlight of the day came from Boney, who played in place of Ploch at No. 1 singles. Boney defeated Mayer, the two-time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Player of the Year and reigning MAAC Player of the Week, in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. Boney, who has played much better as of late, has now raised her singles record to an even 11-11.

After beginning the season at the No. 1 spot, Boney was moved down to No. 2 to allow her to work on her confidence and skills. Now, Dixon feels Boney is a better fit at No. 2 with Ploch at No. 1, giving the Minutewomen a formidable one-two punch.

‘I like Boney at No. 2, it took her a while to get her confidence back but she finally is back to where we expected,’ Dixon said. ‘What you see now is much different than what you saw three weeks ago. If I keep her at No. 2, it allows her to feel stronger and more comfortable with her game.

‘Ploch is a very solid No. 1 and that allows us to have a very strong combination at the top two singles positions,’ she said.

The weekend ended UMass’ indoor portion of the schedule as it heads into the outdoor season. The Minutewomen will play their next home match at the Mullins Courts when they host the Rhode Island on April 9.

UMass will next be back in action when it travels to Florida to face Barry University on March 16 and Florida Atlantic on March 17.

Jay Asser can be reached at [email protected]

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