Snow and ice can’t stop UMass tennis’ hot streak

By Arthur Hayden

(Alex Lindsay/Daily Collegian)
(Alex Lindsay/Daily Collegian)

The last time that the Massachusetts tennis team lost a match in Amherst to a team not named Boston College was in April 2010, falling to Boston University. On yet another weekend in the tundra of Western Massachusetts, that run was not about to end.

The Minutewomen dominated back-to-back matches against Army and Marist over the weekend, winning every singles and doubles match-up throughout en route to a pair of 7-0 victories. The wins marked the second and third straight shutout wins for UMass, which, despite the weather, finds itself on an early hot streak.

“We’ve been working hard on specific things,” Minutewomen coach Judy Dixon said. “We’ve been working hard on serving, returning serves better and we’ve been trying to keep our energy level and our focus sustained throughout two sets – not to have ups and downs. I think we were able to do that in both matches this weekend.”

Aarzoo Malik, despite suffering from a flu virus, won both of her matches at the No. 1 singles spot, (6-4, 6-2, 7-5, 6-3), as she continues to show her confidence at the top of the lineup in just her sophomore campaign.

The Minutewomen dictated play from top to bottom. In the only match that went to three sets, senior captain Chanel Glasper pulled out the victory in dramatic fashion against Army’s Bridget Guenard, (7-5, 3-6, 10-8). Glasper’s two singles wins over the weekend gives her a career total of 67, seven behind Jessica Podlofsky’s school record.

Freshman phenom Ana Yrazusta followed suit and powered through the weekend, dropping just three games during her two singles victories, (6-1, 6-0; 6-1, 6-1). Yrazusta also registered two wins at the No. 1 doubles spot alongside junior Carol Benito, also in her first year at UMass after transferring from Tulsa. The pairing of Benito and Yrazusta has been strong for Dixon’s squad this year, and their two wins bump their doubles record to 13-4 on the season.

Benito, who also cruised to two straight-set victories over the weekend in singles, drew praise from Dixon for her influence on and off the court.

“I’ve been really impressed with Carol Benito, with her play both in singles and doubles,” Dixon said. “I’m impressed with her mental toughness. I would sort of single her out … I think that she’s been a real mature influence on the team.”

Minutewomen Arielle Griffin and Anna Woosley each secured three victories as well. Woosley leads the team with 12 singles victories.

On to the Big Green

While UMass has charged through its opponents, it will face its toughest task of the young spring season Feb. 26 when it travels to Hanover, New Hampshire, to take on Dartmouth. The Big Green, fresh off claiming the ECAC Women’s Indoor Tennis Championship last weekend, comes into the match ranked No. 47 in the nation. Dixon is well aware of what lies ahead.

“This is a much tougher school to play and we play them away, so the focus over the next 10 days will be what to do with Dartmouth,” Dixon said.

Arthur Hayden can be reached at [email protected]