Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass tennis keeps on rolling, downs Albany 5-2

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(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts tennis team ended the weekend with another win under its belt, defeating the University of Albany 5-2 to stretch its winning streak to three.

The Minutewomen (10-4, 3-0 Atlantic 10 Conference) entered Saturday’s match as the favorites to win against the Great Danes (7-7), but it wasn’t as easy as predicted.

A strength for UMass all season has been its ability to dominate in doubles and start the game off strong by taking the doubles point. This was not the case against Albany, though, as the Minutewomen lost two of the three doubles matches, sacrificing the point.

UMass has lost the doubles point only five times this season, with just two of those five losses coming as clean sweeps.

To make matters worse, the Minutewomen then lost the No. 1 singles match as Aarzoo Malik fell in three sets.

But UMass didn’t allow the demoralizing start to fester.

“This team gets punched in the stomach and they come back swinging,” said UMass coach Judy Dixon as she spoke on the team’s ability to handle missteps.

This was not the first time Dixon has mentioned the team’s aptitude in overcoming obstacles in a game mid-match.

UMass won all remaining singles matches, notching the 5-2 victory. Notably, Chanel Glasper won her 73rd career singles match, defeating the Great Danes’ Paulina Torres in three sets. The win put her just one behind 2013 graduate Jessica Podlofsky’s career record of 74 wins.

Dixon said she hopes Glasper can break the record before UMass’ Senior Day on April 12.

However, the troubling trend of struggles in the No. 1 singles spot is something the Minutewomen have identified.

Malik has struggled in the No. 1 spot, a place she has occupied all season. She now stands at 6-13 on the season in singles play after Saturday’s loss.

Malik’s struggles can be traced all the way back to the fall when she went 4-5 in tournament play.

Her misfortunes have come as a surprise, especially after her performance last year as a freshman out of New Delhi, India. Malik’s first year brought her much attention as she cruised to a 14-9 record, the best on the team.

“She is as good as a lot of the players she is losing to,” Dixon said. “When you lose often, you forget how to win.”

It has crossed Dixon’s mind to move Malik out of the No. 1 singles spot, especially when she has plenty of options to fill the role such as Carol Benito (17-8), Anna Woosely (17-6) and Ana Yrazusta (16-7). However, Dixon has no immediate plans for the change.

“I have (thought about it), but it wouldn’t be the best thing for the team,” Dixon said.

The Minutewomen look to continue their success this Saturday when they host Fairleigh Dickinson.

Philip Sanzo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.

About the Writer
Philip Sanzo, Sports Editor

Class of 2018, Phil served as the sports editor and the senior producer for the Daily Collegian. Having worked with the Collegian since his freshman year,...

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