Tennis takes on UConn

By Ben Lambert

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Fresh off a 7-0 victory over Holy Cross, the Massachusetts tennis team is ready to take on Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. on Thursday.

UMass looks to continue its dominance in this traditional fall season matchup. Since the 2000-01 season, when the series began, UMass is 5-2 against the Huskies. The Minutewomen have won each of the last five matches.

“When we play UConn, we’re really mentally prepared,” UMass coach Judy Dixon said. “The kids really refuse to back down.”

Last year, in the 2008 fall season, the Minutewomen defeated the Huskies, 5-2. UMass won all three doubles matches on its road to victory and junior Candynce Boney defeated Kelly LaRusso, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 1 singles.

Senior Maude Lecluyse also won a match 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) over Allison Campitello at No. 3 singles.

UMass took 4-3 victories in both the 2007-08 and the 2006-07 seasons as well. In 2005, it swept UConn, 7-0, and in both 2003-04 and 2004-05, the Minutewomen seized 6-1 victories.

UMass won 13 of the last 15 doubles matches over the Huskies, last losing in 2003-04. Since then, it has won 12 straight doubles matches.

UConn will look to come back strong after this series of defeats. The team is currently 1-0 on the season, with its lone victory coming over Bryant on Oct. 1. The Bulldogs were nothing more than a small challenge to the Huskies as they rolled to a 7-0 victory.

The singles competitors lost a total of five games in six matches, with senior LoRusso at No. 1 singles and junior Emily Herb at No. 2 singles, completely shutting out their opponents. The doubles teams all won their matches by a five game margin or more.

“This is the first true test of where we are,” Dixon said. “We have to win this match from the bottom up, in the four, five, six singles matches.” 

UConn also competed in the Bucknell Invitational this past weekend. The Huskies took home two titles, as freshman Julia Allen won the C Singles Main Draw, 6-1, 6-4, over Liz Larkin of Bucknell. Freshman Abby McKeon and sophomore Alexa Gregory combined to earn the B Doubles Main Draw by beating George Mason’s Andrea Londen and Meredith Cutchin by an 8-1 margin.

McKeon fell in the finals of the B Singles Main Draw, falling to Demi Iepuras of Bucknell. Gregory reached the second round of the B Singles Main Draw, but also lost to Iepuras. The duo did defeat Iepuras and her partner Dara Dwojewski in the semi-finals of the B Doubles Main Draw.

Campitello and LoRusso both missed coming advancing from the first round of the A Singles Main Draw.

LoRusso will look to defeat UMass for the first time in her career. She has yet to earn a win in any of her four previous attempts. Campinello defeated Lecluyse in the 2007-08 season, 6-4, 6-4. 

This will be the first time that LoRusso faces UMass No. 1 singles player Magdalena Ploch.

The match was originally scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but has been postponed until 2 p.m. on Thursday because of anticipated inclement weather. The match will still be at the Mullins Center tennis courts.

Ben Lambert can be reached at [email protected]