Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass tennis takes on Stanford in first round of the NCAA tournament

Minutewomen make first tournament appearance since 2017
Jon Asgeirsson
Daily Collegian (2019)

For the first time since 2017, the Massachusetts tennis team is set to compete in the NCAA tournament.

The Minutewomen (15-7, 4-1 Atlantic 10) won the A-10 championship on April 27, cruising past Rhode Island, Saint Louis and Richmond in the finals. This gave the program an A-10 tournament victory, receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament. UMass took home the A-10 title for the first time since the 2016-2017 season under head coach Jauncarlos Nunez, claiming his first championship win as head coach.

Coming into the A-10 tournament as the third seed with a 4-1 record over the regular season, the Minutewomen received a first-round bye and took on six-seed URI in round two. With a 4-0 undefeated finish, UMass moved on to Saint Louis in round three.

The Billikens were ranked as the two seed of the tournament, and after beating Dayton in round two, didn’t have the same success against the Minutewomen. UMass won 4-1, sending Saint Louis home and making it to the final round against Richmond.

As the eighth seed, the Spiders made it past some tough opponents on their path to the championship game, including top-seeded VCU, before running into the Minutewomen in the finals. Richmond kept the match closer than others, but UMass came out on top 4-2 in the end.

The Minutewomen face second-ranked Stanford (22-2, 10-1 Pac-12) in the first round of the NCAA tournament, traveling to sunny California. The Cardinals are no strangers to the NCAA tournament, holding 41 tournament appearances and 21 national championships, alongside their back-to-back Pac-12 titles in 2022 and 2023.

Stanford came up just short of a tournament victory in 2023, making it to the semifinals before losing 4-0 to NC State who lost in the championship game to North Carolina. The Cardinals were the seven seed in that tournament, coming back with a vengeance in 2024 as the two seed.

With Stanford being the winningest program in women’s college tennis history, it will be no small opponent for UMass. Lele Forood has compiled an eye-popping 535-60 overall record as the coach of the Cardinal, capturing 10 NCAA team titles, including a three-year undefeated stretch from 2004-06. In addition to directing Stanford to 16 conference crowns and five Pac-12 Tournament titles, Forood has coached 28 All-Americans, five NCAA singles champions and five NCAA doubles champions.

“We are going play the most storied team in women’s tennis history on their courts on Friday and we can’t wait,” Nunez said.

Since fall, the Minutewomen have done their due diligence to prepare for the postseason.

“[I] made sure we were going to be strong in all areas, physically and mentally and teamwork as well,” Nunez said.

This meant early mornings, conditioning runs and weight room workouts for strength and conditioning, all while participating in group counseling sessions, team building exercises and learning about the communication styles of team members.

“I think all of that work paid off,” Nunez said. “When it came to conference tournaments our tennis level was there, physically we were there, mentally we were there, and also as a team in terms of culture and environment things were there.”

UMass will take on Stanford on Wednesday, May 3 at 4 p.m. for the first-ever matchup between the two teams.

Lucy Postera can be reached at [email protected] and followed on X/Twitter @lucypostera.

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