Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass tennis dominates Fairleigh Dickinson

By Christopher Marino

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(Daily Collegian/Shannon Broderick)

(Collegian File Photo)

The Massachusetts tennis team earned its 10th victory of the season when it completed a full 7-0 sweep of Farleigh Dickinson Saturday afternoon at the Bay Road Tennis Center.

The win over the Knights (3-5) signifies the fifth in a row for the Minutewomen (10-6), who now haven’t lost since Feb. 21 versus Dartmouth.

“The team is well aware of the importance of these matches in keeping us at a certain level,” coach Judy Dixon said “There’s so many variables and the two things I’ve been telling them is we have to practice hard everyday and have to go after each match as if it’s the most important match that we play all year.”

While the size of the victory was certainly substantial, the competitiveness of each individual match was even more representative of the dominating nature in UMass’ performance, as no matches were pushed to a third set.

“The beginning was the toughest portion of the season, then there was the middle and now it’s versus teams (where) we would be the favorite,” Dixon said. “(The team understands) it and they’re taking this component as seriously as they would any other component of the season.”

“It brings them out with a goal in mind,” Dixon continued. “They go into a match thinking ‘this match is important because,’ then fill in the blank.”

While they enter matches versus teams such as Fairleigh Dickinson favored to come out on top, this hasn’t resulted in complacency as displayed by the size and complete nature of the win.

Additionally, the Minutewomen earned the win while resting several key contributors and three of the top six singles players, including Arielle Griffin and Aarzoo Malik, who were held out of competition for various reasons.

“We took three of our top six out of the lineup and still won, and that’s a testament to our large team,” Dixon said. “Laura Moreno, who’s my number seven kind of player, went out and beat their number four kid, so I think one of our strengths is our depth. When the tennis season is as long as it is and has as many chances for illness and injury, we can still compete.”

While the victory yesterday was important, Dixon is focused on closing in on the advantage the rest of the Atlantic 10 has on the UMass squad by being able to regularly play outside for some time now.

“It’s critical that we get outdoors,” she said. “All the other teams in the Atlantic 10 are outside, but we’re the furthest north so we’re having the most difficulty with the weather. Because the conference championships are outside, that’s a problem.”

While the Minutewomen continue to try to build on their momentum that has lead to five straight wins, building on their readiness for the A-10 championships continues to be the focus and as Dixon explained, it’s not just how you win, but where you win.

“Even though the matches themselves are a little bit less difficult then the other parts of the season, there are other things that throw these matches into a different bracket which makes them more difficult,” Dixon said.

UMass will once again be competing inside when it heads to Connecticut to take on Quinnipiac next Thursday.

Christopher Marino can be reached at [email protected]

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