Minutewomen have tough weekend at Big Green Invitational

By Chris Shores

At the Big Green Invitational tournament in Hanover, N.H. this past weekend, the Massachusetts tennis team got the chance to face three future opponents in an exhibition setting. While they did not fare well – suffering three losses – the tournament allowed the team and coach Judy Dixon one more chance to get more match experience, and see what they can improve upon before the winter season begins.

“The morale of the team is good,” Dixon said. “Everyone got a chance to play.”

Individuals that have not typically gotten significant playing time this fall, such as Gabriella Jannotta, got a chance to get some game-time experience this past weekend.

Freshman Chantal Swiszcz, who has been injured for most of the fall, played for most of the weekend, which was a positive sign for the coach.

“We need to get Chantal healthy,” Dixon said. “It is one of the keys to making this team fly.”

Dixon also pointed to a struggling Candynce Boney as being a key component in the team’s success. She wants Boney to make some improvements and fine-tune her game during this offseason.

The tournament featured UMass, Boston University, St. John’s and Dartmouth, with each team getting an opportunity to face the other three teams, one on each day of the tournament. While the matchups do not count for team standings, performances by the players have an impact on their individual rankings.

Dixon said the tournament allowed her and assistant coach Juancarlos Nunez to scout opponents. This will help determine practice strategy and lineup decisions when it comes time to play these teams again later on in the season.

Overall, Dixon was pleased with the fall performance of her squad. She says that they are looking forward to the rest, but will be ready to go at the start of their indoor season next February.

In the match against the Terriers on the first day, UMass dropped the doubles point, a point they are usually able to secure without much difficulty.

Terriers Francine Whu and Monika Mical defeated Maude Lecluyse and Boney, 8-4.

In the No. 2 doubles match, Petra Santini and Jessi Linero beat Magdalena Ploch and Julia Comas, 8-4.

In the No. 1 singles match, Ploch continued her great season with a hard-fought victory against Stefanie Nunic. The BU star was injured during the third set of play, and was forced to retire from the match, handing Ploch the victory, 4-6, 7-6, 2-2 (ret.)

For the second time that day, Santini defeated Comas, this time in singles play, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Boney defeated Linero in No. 3 singles play in a hard-fought three-set match, 7-6, 6-7, 6-2.

Already victorious in the No. 1 doubles match, Whu defeated Lecluyse again in the No. 4 singles match, 6-1, 6-4.

Mical beat Tanisha Hodgson in the No. 5 singles match, 6-3, 6-3, and giving UMass their third and final win of the day, Jocelyn Providence defeated Inayat Khosla, 8-3.

Four exhibition matchups were then played against Dartmouth. Jannotta saw her first official action of the year, losing to Carissa King in two straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.

In her second match of the day, Providence faced off against Dartmouth’s Christina Danosi. Providence lost this match 8-2.

Dartmouth’s doubles team of Carley Markovitz and Jeri Reichel edged out Hodgson and Swiszcz 9-8.

Shelley Carpeni and Donisi beat the UMass doubles team of Jannotta and Providence 8-6.

For the match against St. John’s, Dixon was forced to go with an alternate lineup, as both Lecluyse and Kaitlyn Carpenter were sick with the flu and unavailable. Carpenter was out the entire tournament.

The usual No. 2 doubles team of Ploch and Comas was bumped up to the top doubles spot for the match. There, they handily defeated Ece Firat and Jenny Yonkus, 8-1.

Joanna Zwirbulis and Ksenia Mikhaylova beat Hodgson and Swiszcz, 8-3.

In the critical third doubles match, St. John’s was the victor, gaining the doubles point as Ira Aleksova and Alyssa Liantonio defeated Providence and Boney, 8-6.

The only win of the day for UMass came at the hands of Ploch, who defeated Aleksova in the No. 1 singles match, 6-4, 6-2.

For the second straight day, Comas was able to win the first set of her match but dropped the final two, as she lost to Firat, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Zwirbulis won the No. 3 singles match over Boney, 6-4, 6-2.

In No. 4 singles play, Nakita Austin beat Hodgson in three sets, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Mikhaylova beat Providence in the No. 5 singles match, 7-6, 6-2.

In the No. 6 singles match, Liantonio defeated Jannotta, 6-2, 6-2.

On Saturday, against Dartmouth, UMass was unable to win a single match.

Molly Scott and Mary Beth Winingham shutout Boney and Lecluyse, 8-0.

In the No. 2 doubles match, Jesse Adler and Julia Zak barely defeated Comas and Ploch, 9-8.

Christina Danosi and Sarah Leonard beat Hodgson and Swiszcz, 8-6.

Carley Markovitz and Jeri Reichel defeated Jannotta and Providence, 8-6.

In singles play, Scott handed Ploch a two-set loss, 6-2, 6-3.

Adler defeated Boney, 6-2, 6-1.

Comas lost another three-set match this time to Winingham, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Danosi defeated Hodgson in No. 4 singles play, 6-2, 6-3.

Markovitz beat Lecluyse, 6-3, 6-4.

In the No. 6 singles match, Carissa King defeated Providence, 6-1, 6-1.

Reichel beat Jannotta for the second time that day, 6-2, 6-0.

Zak defeated Swiszcz, 8-2.

Chris Shores can be reached at [email protected].