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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Looking back on women’s tennis’ historic championship season


UMass Boston’s women’s tennis team holds up a championship banner.

The UMass Boston women’s tennis team has put in a tremendous amount of work these past couple of months. One season of dominance later, and the Lady Beacons’ efforts had finally paid off. The Beacons beat Rhode Island College, 5–2, in the Little East Conference Championship. Their championship win is the first time UMass Boston has won the title since the program’s start 27 years ago.

Coming off a mediocre 2021 season where they went 8–7, the Beacons found motivation in improving their previous season, and after a few games, it didn’t take long for schools to realize that 2022 was the year that the Beacons would take over. They started the season off 4–0, sweeping their first three opponents, Western Connecticut State, Curry College and Plymouth State, while also winning 8-1 against Bridgewater State.

The Beacons quickly became a name to fear, but they were not invincible. The then-undefeated Roger Williams University handed UMass Boston their first—and only—loss of the year, losing a close one 5–4.

However, this loss was not something to get used to. Roger Williams made the mistake of lighting a fire in the Beacons as they went on to win their next five games, including sweeping Salem State, Castleton and Southern Maine.

The two other wins came against UMass Dartmouth, who they beat 8–1, and Rhode Island College, beating them in a close match 5–4. It would not be the last time that UMass Boston would meet these teams, as they prepared to play UMass Dartmouth a second time in the Little East Conference Tournament.

UMass Dartmouth was handled with ease, as two victories in the doubles matches and three in the singles gave the Beacons a 5–1 victory and a one way ticket to the championship. Sophomore Ayonna Stuppard and freshman Ayra Shaikh played major roles in the victory, as they won both their doubles and singles matches.

UMass Boston would once again come face to face with Rhode Island College on the court in the Little East Conference Championship. The Beacons would sweep the doubles matches, with Lydia Chan and Meagen Carney winning 8–6, Ayra Shaikh and Yana Semerly winning 8–1 and the duo of Ayonna Stuppord and Elena Albano pulling away in a close 8–7 victory. In singles, Lydia Chan and Ayra Saikh took down both of their opponents to secure a Beacon victory (2).

This past season was filled with impressive play from the ladies. Fantastic seasons from Yana Semerly, Ayra Shaikh, Lydia Chan, Meagen Carney, Ayonna Stuppord and Elena Albano, alongside coach Godamanna, who was recently crowned Coach of the Year, helped elevate the team to its champion status.

The squad looks to run it back next year, as none of the aforementioned players are seniors. Ayra Shaikh, in particular, put up a very magnificent season as a freshman. She quickly showed to be a force of nature, only losing one singles match and one doubles match the entire season. She was crowned Rookie of the Year at the Women’s Tennis All-Conference Awards; she and her teammates have a very bright future ahead of them.

A season like the one the UMass Boston women’s tennis team just had could very well be the beginning of the formation of an elite program. The Beacons are now the talk of the town, and it’s very possible that in this year—and potentially in the following years—dominance could bring in very talented recruits. UMass Boston sports fans should get excited, as it seems something special is brewing on the tennis court. Congratulations to the Lady Beacons on their victory, and here’s to more to come!

2022-23 Women’s Tennis Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

CHAMPIONS! Women’s Tennis Wins First Little East Conference Crown in 27 Year History of Program – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

About the Contributor
Liam Crampton, Sports Writer