Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass tackles tricky three-game stretch as A-10 tournament approaches

By Philip Sanzo

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Isabel Balsavage and Brittany Collens work together to defeat their Albany opponent.  (Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

Isabel Balsavage and Brittany Collens work together to defeat their Albany opponent. (Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts tennis team has put itself in a great position to close out what has been nothing short of a dominant season.

UMass (11-4, 3-0 Atlantic 10) has posted a perfect 7-0 record at home and a 3-0 mark in conference play,  having won four consecutive games including seven of its last eight.

With only three matches remaining in the regular season before the Atlantic 10 Championships, the Minutewomen will face Rhode Island, Bryant and Sacred Heart over the next five days.

Up first for UMass on Wednesday is conference rival Rhode Island. The Rams (6-5, 0-1 Atlantic 10) will host the Minutewomen at Centre Court in Providence, Rhode Island, in what could be considered a must-win game for the Rams, who have yet to win an A-10 game. For the Minutewomen, this game has the potential to hurt them more than it can help them.

“These are the kind of matches you have to be careful with,” UMass coach Judy Dixon said.

Luckily, the match against URI will be played indoors as the forecast calls for rain and a high of 41 degrees. Play indoors is always the favorable condition for the players, and the Minutewomen are fortunate enough to have already played at Centre Court in a 7-0 win against Providence March 7.

UMass has received consistent play from its singles as of late, as Carol Benito has won seven straight games while Chanel Glasper’s next victory will set the all-time program record for singles wins.

Sitting at 74 career wins, Glasper will look to achieve the milestone against either URI or Bryant. Dixon has expressed many times before her desire for Glasper to win her 75th match before Senior Day April 12.

Dixon believes the biggest threat to the Minutewomen is going to be URI’s No. 1 singles player, Taylor Holden, who is 10-7 on the year. This will not make things any easier for UMass’s top singles player Aarzoo Malik, who has already experienced her share of struggles this season with a 6-15 record.

The Minutewomen will stay in Rhode Island between matches before they face the Bulldogs on Saturday. Dixon believes that this could possibly be the toughest of the last three games for UMass.

“I expect Bryant to be tough. We will have to come out with our best team,” Dixon said.

Bryant (6-6, 2-1 New England Conference) has improved over the past few seasons and will come into the game with a respectable No. 1 singles player in Ryan Brown, who is 8-9 on the season. The Bulldogs are getting hot at the right time, as they’ve won their last three matchups.

The regular season will close out with Senior Day Sunday against Sacred Heart, as UMass will bid farewell to its two seniors, Glasper and Gianna Francis. Glasper will likely be the Minutewomen’s all-time single’s wins leader, while Francis has not competed in two years.

The Pioneers (6-8) won their last game on Tuesday 6-1 against Long Island University Brooklyn.

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

About the Writer
Philip Sanzo, Sports Editor
UMass’s depth and St. Joseph’s high scorer means Friday’s semifinal has potential for a possible shootout.
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