Ploch advances to quarterfinal of ITA Regional before falling

By Chris Shores

(Amanda Joinson/Collegian)

Massachusetts tennis star Magdalena Ploch advanced as far as the quarterfinals at this weekend’s ITA Regional Championships hosted by Yale.

Ploch entered the tournament ranked 17th and despite being sick with a cold the entire weekend, she was able to pull off three victories before losing in the fifth round. 

UMass Coach Judy Dixon was impressed with Ploch’s play, especially in the wake of her illness.

“The biggest thing was that she fought through the difficulty,” Dixon said.

The field of the final eight included a player from Brown, and two each from Harvard, Yale and Princeton. For Ploch to be included in that group says a lot about her performance this weekend according to Dixon.

The sophomore earned a first-round bye, then defeated two straight opponents from Army. Her second round match against Army’s highest ranked player, Erin Colton, was cut short with Ploch ahead 4-1. Her opponent ended the match prematurely due to an illness.

In the third round, Ploch faced off against No. 14 ranked Annie Houghton. Ploch took the first set 6-4 but was then swept 6-0. In the tiebreaker set, Ploch pulled off the victory winning 6-2.

The fourth round – a field of 16 – pitted Ploch against the No. 3 seed: Hideko Tachibana from Harvard. Ploch pulled off the upset in two straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Prior to that match, Tachibana had been undefeated this season with three tournament titles under her belt.

In a hard-fought match against fifth ranked Hilary Bartlett from Princeton, Ploch came up short. Bartlett defeated her in three sets, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Ploch is 8-2 on the season and has nearly reached her win total from last year (10-9 in singles play).

Meanwhile, the Minutewomen doubles team of Candynce Boney and Maude Lecluyse – which had been dominant up to this point – finally met its match this weekend.

Boney and Lecluyse, ranked eighth, earned themselves a first round bye as well. They then suffered an 8-3 loss to the Army doubles team of Kristin Beehler and Houghton.

“Maude and Candynce ran into a tough situation,” Dixon said. “Everything just went too quickly for them.”

The entire Minutewomen team was scheduled to play against Fordham today in a match that had been postponed earlier in the season due to weather. But due to inclement weather forecasts for today, the match will be cancelled and will not be rescheduled this fall.

Because of poor weather on match days this fall, the full team has not played competitively since the 7-0 win against Rhode Island on Oct. 14.

Their final match of the fall season will be the Big Green Invitational in Hanover, N.H.. The tournament, played over the weekend of Nov. 7-9, is a mock-dual tournament between four schools: St. John’s, Boston University, Dartmouth and UMass.

Each team will play eight singles matches and four doubles matches against the other three schools. These matches do not affect team rankings, but can affect the individuals’ rankings.

Dixon has spent a majority of this fall season training and fine-tuning the doubles squads. In the past weeks, the team has spent a significant amount of time working in doubles, going over strategies for matches.

A key element to the restructured doubles teams is the return of freshman Chantal Swiszcz from injury. Dixon is excited to have Swiszcz available for the Big Green Invitational.

Beginning this week, the team will begin to practice indoors. Following the tournament, the team will have a reduced practice schedule before breaking for the holiday season. When the players return in January, the team will officially begin its indoor season. Dixon has said that her squad will perform even stronger as an indoor team.

Chris Shores can be reached at [email protected]