Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass tennis weathers storm to win on Senior Day

Minutewomen defeat Rhode Island 6-1

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Tim Sorota, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts tennis team battled the elements to earn a 6-1 Senior Day victory over Rhode Island on Friday.

Seniors Ana Yrazusta and Laura Moreno led the way by winning both their singles and doubles competitions.

In a season marred by rain delays, canceled practices and last-minute venue changes caused by inclement weather, Friday was much of the same as the Minutewomen were forced to contend with strong wind gusts and low temperatures.

His team’s performance on Friday, as well as its ability to deal with unfavorable weather conditions all season, has coach Juancarlos Nunez confident heading into the Atlantic 10 Championships this coming week.

“Today was about competing and battling through the conditions and getting ready for next week,” Nunez said. “We do not know what the weather will be like in Orlando, so we need to be prepared for anything. Even the best players will struggle a little bit in these conditions.”

With winds howling through the Mullins Center courts, UMass started the match by sweeping both doubles contests to earn the extra point over the Rams.

Earning the extra doubles point has been stressed all season as a key factor which may determine how far the Minutewomen advance at A-10s.

“If there’s something we need to work on, its being tougher on the doubles point,” Yrazusta said. “We want to set the tone for a match and we can do that by getting the extra point.”

In order to secure Friday’s bonus point, Nunez switched up his regular rotation and tandems. The usual tandem of Yrazusta and Moreno broke up in favor of partnering freshman Anna Napadiy with Yrazusta and pairing Moreno with team captain Ruth Crawford. Both teams were victorious, giving the Minutewomen the match’s first point over the Rams.

Yrazusta and Napadiy dominated URI’s Halah Davis and Paige Alshon 6-3. Crawford and Moreno went up 5-1 in their contest before the Rams’ top team made it interesting by winning the next three to make the score 5-4. But UMass won the next point to earn a 6-4 victory.

“We just wanted to try some different combinations,” said Nunez. “We felt like we needed to light up a little spark and see some different game styles together and figure out the best combos for next week.”

While the first-year coach may have to think about his doubles combinations for this week’s tournament, he will have an easier decision on deciding who his singles players will be.

The Minutewomen singles players went 3-1 against URI with the only loss being a hard-fought, tie-break defeat for Crawford. She lost the first set 2-6 but rallied to force a third set, taking the second one 6-0. The tie-breaking set went in favor of Rhode Island’s Ariel Haber 13-11.

Two forfeits rounded out a 6-1 UMass win, moving the team to 10-6 on the season and 3-2 in conference play.

The Minutewomen are back in action this Wednesday in Orlando, Florida for the A-10 Championships.

Tim Sorota can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @timsorota.

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