UMass tennis looks to rebound at home against Providence College

By Christopher Martinez

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian
(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

After falling to Connecticut last week 5-2, the Massachusetts tennis team looks to rebound and earn its first victory of the fall season as it prepares to host Providence College Thursday afternoon.

In their previous match, the Minutewomen (0-1) looked comfortable in doubles play, sweeping all three matches to go up early 2-0. A couple of close singles matchups later, however, UMass conceded the match to the Huskies (2-0) in the second half of competition.

“We just seemed gassed at the end of the match, so these last couple of weeks have been focused around physicality and making sure we’re in the right shape,” UMass coach Judy Dixon said.

“I think our main problem against (UConn) was that we got too comfortable,” Minutewomen senior Carol Benito said. “We won the doubles matches fairly easily which led us to underestimate them in the rest of the match.”

The upcoming match against the Friars (2-0) will feature a different lineup, as Dixon looks to shake things up. Sophomore Laura Moreno will make a start in singles play, while junior Aarzoo Malik will be returning to action.

Malik missed last week’s match due to sickness and will look to make an immediate impact for the squad playing at the singles No. 4 position.

“I’m just excited to be stepping back on the court,” Malik said. “ I think this is a really good match for me to be coming back because it will be my first dual match of the season.”

The junior has been in the starting lineup for the past two years and brings experience along with leadership to the team as one of six upperclassmen on the Minutewomen’s roster.

Dixon said she believes UMass will be favored in its matchup Thursday, although she is not underestimating the challenge that Providence will present. She added that she’s interested in how her lineup changes will play out.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the team responds to the lineup changes (Thursday),” Dixon said.

Providence’s most recent match came against Fairfield, resulting in a comfortable 7-0 sweep.

Retaining her usual spot at the No. 1 doubles slot alongside partner Anna Yrazusta, Benito reaffirmed that their fixture against the Friars will not be taken lightly.

The Minutewomen have excelled in doubles competition through the beginning of the season, but are now looking to capitalize on their singles matchups. It’s still early in the season, but Dixon said she wants to test the depth of their reserves.

With the ITA Northeast Regionals approaching in one week next Thursday and Friday, UMass looks to gain some positive momentum moving forward.

“The team that we have now might be the best team we’ve ever had at UMass, so we are fairly confident heading into the rest of our schedule,” Benito said.

Thursday’s match against Providence will be held at the Mullins Center Courts at 2:30 p.m.

Christopher Martinez can be reached at [email protected]