Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass tennis shifts gears toward A-10 portion of schedule in winter

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(Shannon Broderick /Daily Collegian)

(Shannon Broderick /Daily Collegian)

The fall portion of the 2015-16 season for the Massachusetts women’s tennis team was filled with ups-and-downs, as the team took home a few big wins against the likes of Providence College and impressing victory in the ITA Northeast Regionals, while also falling at home against Connecticut back in October.

The real season, however, begins now as the Minutewomen prepare to make a run at the Atlantic 10 conference championship starting in January.

“While we take it seriously, the fall season is merely a place holder,” coach Judy Dixon said. “All the invitationals that we take part in give you a chance to test out different lineups until you find something that works.”

A key takeaway from the fall season was the continued domination of duo sensation Ana Yrazusta and Carol Benito, whose strong play was ended with a defeat in the round of 16 in the ITA Regionals.

The combo has solidified its role as UMass’ No. 1 doubles pair and will look to carry their strong play into the spring season.

The Minutewomen last took to the courts in New Hampshire at the Big Green Invitational, where they faced off against Denver, Dartmouth and Minnesota.

UMass picked up a 4-3 win on the first day against Denver, winning the doubles point at No. 1 through Benito and Yrazusta and gaining a key match point through Laura Moreno’s three-set win in No. 6 singles play.

Dixon’s team would eventually fall 8-2 to Dartmouth in the finale however, with Anna Woosley and Arielle Griffin managing to pick up the Minutewomen’s only points of the match.

“Dartmouth was ranked 35th in the nation last year and we were able to take every match into three sets, so again it shows me that our squad is able to compete with some of the best teams in the country,” Dixon said. “Ruth Crawford was the most impressive player at the invitational, she was consistent throughout and played well.”

At the conclusion of the fall season, Dixon continues to keep the Minutewomen going through conditioning drills but claims that at this point in the year, preparations are up to the athletes.

“When they leave for winter break it’s up to them to stay in shape and to and to prepare mentally to continue playing at a higher caliber. We open play against Brown and Boston College, both very strong teams,” Dixon said.

Dixon’s main focus now is on solidifying her lineups, particularly who she is going to put in the rotation at the singles No. 3 position.

The spring season is important in regards to conference matchups, with UMass booked to play against A-10 rival Fordham in late April.

“We don’t get a lot of chances to play against A-10 opponents, so our match with Fordham will probably be one the most important fixtures of next season,” Dixon said.

Christopher Martinez can be reached at [email protected].

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