Minutewomen to compete in Big Green Invitational

By Scott Cournoyer

Amanda Joinson/Collegian

The depth and versatility of the Massachusetts tennis team will be put to the test this weekend when it faces Ohio State, Boston University and Dartmouth at the Big Green Invitational in Hanover, N.H. beginning Friday. 

Most players from represented schools will compete in a variety of up to eight singles matches, as well as three or more sets of combinations in doubles play. The format consists of three days, in which each day, UMass will play up to 12 matches against one school. Last year, the Minutewomen lost on all three days, first to BU, then St. John’s, and finally Dartmouth on the closing day.

This year’s squad, with more depth and younger talent is much more solid this fall compared to this time last season, which gives UMass more stability and flexibility when it comes to projected lineups in singles. UMass coach Judy Dixon will also have some wiggle room when it comes to how she sets up doubles combinations.

The projected singles lineup will most likely see freshman Yuliana Motyl at the top, who has battled illness since she arrived at UMass. Although the freshman has not yet posted a victory in collegiate competition in limited playing time, she has shown flashes of brilliance with terrific baseline play, as well as an instinct to attack up front towards the net.  

Sophomore Julia Comas will either play at the No. 2 in singles or the No. 1, as she has done more than once this season with the absence of Motyl.  Comas has posted mixed results this fall in both areas, but has the physical tools to compete with top-flight competition. The Barcelona native won the Flight B singles final earlier this season at West Point, and led UMass to a 2-0 Atlantic 10 record this fall with victories against Fordham and Rhode Island.

Senior Candynce Boney will most likely compete at the No. 3 in singles, playing in the top half of the lineup for most of this fall. Boney, who will be playing in her last Big Green Invitational, has helped carry the Minutewomen with single and double victories against Fordham and URI, as well as reaching the final eight in the Flight C singles at Army in September. 

The bottom portion of the lineup will see a variety of players, notably senior Kaityln Carpenter, sophomore Jocelyn Providence, freshman’s Jessica Podlofsky and Clara Matias, among others. 

In doubles play, Dixon may look to her two established players in Comas and Boney to highlight the No. 1 pair for UMass. The two have had experience playing together, teaming up to defeat Pam Emery and Kirsten Leikem of URI, 8-6. 

Notable combination of Providence and Carpenter, who have had plenty of experience playing together this fall, will more than likely be solidified as the No. 2 pairing. Providence and Carpenter have had tremendous success, dropping only one point in combined A-10 play this fall, and won four matches on their way to the Flight B finals at West Point, before losing to Mimi Bell and Jen Newman of Amherst.

Podlofsky should also be expected to compete in doubles, having success with Boney and senior Tanisha Hodgson. The freshman’s ability to grind out sets has proved to be successful, as she has won most of her matches this fall. 

Matias remains the wildcard for UMass. The Spaniard has grinded out matches herself this fall, winning long tiebreaking sets to claim victories against Fordham and URI. She will more than likely be expected to compete in a variety of ways this weekend in both singles and doubles. 

This weekend will be the last time UMass will play this fall. Competition will pick back up in late January when we face Boston College at Chestnut Hill, Mass.  

Scott Cournoyer can be reached at [email protected]