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The Mass Media

Women’s tennis looks to strike gold for second year in a row

The+Beacons+take+on+Nichols+College+in+their+home+game+on+Oct.+12.+Photo+by+Salt+Lake+Photo+Company+%2F+Beacons+Athletics.
The Beacons take on Nichols College in their home game on Oct. 12. Photo by Salt Lake Photo Company / Beacons Athletics.

If women’s tennis players dress up for Halloween this year, it would be fitting that they dress as witches, because they love to break out the brooms and sweep every team in their path. It’s been a game of aces for UMass Boston Women’s Tennis, as they’re following a golden approach by carving up defenses left and right. The group teed off against Southern Maine and Plymouth State University with consecutive 9–0 sweeps. Afterwards, the Beacons continued their reign of terror, pitying Rhode Island College and Bridgewater State University by taking a break from the sweeps with 7–2 and 8–1 victories, according to Beacons Athletics. (1) 

Squaring off against the Panthers Thursday, Oct. 5, the Beacons pounced early with two 8–1 doubles victories; Lydia Chan and Zainab Patel got the scoring started as the #1 doubles, while Elena Albano and Ayonna Stuppard finished the #2 doubles match with the same score. Sandra Watson and Kaya-Lilliana Rutkowski held their own in the #3 doubles, winning 8–4, and before singles matches started, the Beacons already held a 3–0 lead.

The singles matches featured breadsticks galore—breadstick is the term used to define 6–1 set victories. Not only that, the first three singles matches featured identical scores throughout. The trio of Patel, Chan and Stuppard finished with set wins of 6–0 in set one and 6–1 in set two. Coincidentally, Albano finished her #4 singles with a 6–1 win in set one and 6–0 in set two. Rutkowski and Shreya Saravana Rakshana finished off the sweep in the #5 and #6 singles. The #5 singles featured Saravana Rakshana take 6–3 and 6–4 set wins, while Rutkowski closed it out with wins of 6–2 and 6–4. The match wound up as UMass Boston’s 13th consecutive conference win, as pointed out by Beacons Athletics. (2)

Moving forward in their schedule, the Beacons traveled to Providence, R.I. and faced Rhode Island College in a 2022 Little East Conference Championship rematch, Oct. 7. The Anchormen put themselves in a prime spot after taking a quick 2–1 lead in doubles matchups. Watson and Patel made a mark with an 8–5 win to open the scoring with a 1–0 Beacons lead, but dropped sets by the duos of Albano and Stuppard, and Chan and Meagan Carney pulled the Anchormen ahead. 

Thankfully, a postponement of the singles to the following day allowed the Beacons to refresh, and they pulled the Anchormen out of the water, brushing them off with a clean sweep in their Sunday makeup games. Watson and Patel remained undefeated in singles matches, an astonishing feat for the two first years; Albano, Chan, Carney and Stuppard followed suit with victories in their own right, and, as Beacons Athletics pointed out, allowed the Beacons to secure their 14th consecutive conference win. (3)

The win against Rhode Island garnered more momentum for UMass Boston, and they took their success in stride with another statement win in their road trip to Bridgewater. The Beacons were roaring against the Bears in what was arguably their toughest battle yet. The Bears came into their home game with, just like the Beacons, an undefeated record in conference play. However, Bridgewater State was no match for the Beacons, and UMass Boston sprayed the Bears with calculated strikes across the court. Back-to-back 8–4 doubles wins for Chan and Patel, and the first year phenoms Watson and Rutkowski, opened the floodgates early for the Beacons. Albano and Stuppard kept the stream going with a doubles win of their own, and UMass Boston was on the verge of putting the Bears in hibernation early.

The singles matches brought forward the same result for the Beacons. Watson and Albano followed through in their winning ways by sweeping in their singles sets, putting the Bears down easy with a secured win just five matches in. Chan put the Bears in a 6–0 hole with 6–0 and 6–1 set wins, and Patel served up some more breadsticks for Bridgewater with two 6–1 set victories. The match now 7–0 in favor of the Beacons, Stuppard poured it on with 6–2 and 6–3 singles victories to extend the lead to eight, and though they fell short of another sweep in their final match of the night, an 8–1 win by the Beacons was on the cards for the night. 

In light of their win over Bridgewater State, Beacons Athletics reported that UMass Boston received the top seed in the LEC tournament, and at the very least, a share of the LEC regular season title. (4) The Beacons displayed pure excellence and near-flawless execution against the Bears, and in this case, proved what happens when you get on the court against them, and as the saying goes for a Beacon attack: If it’s blue and white, good night. 

The Beacons’ continuous stretch of conference dominance has them at full throttle going into the final stages of the regular season. Now is not the time to let your foot off the break, and it seems that UMass Boston is looking to adopt the concept of maintaining a relentless attack. With the LEC tournament around the corner, beginning Tuesday, Oct. 17, it’s time for the Beacons to maintain their composure and do what they’ve been doing best over the past couple of years, and that’s beating down the opponents they’re most familiar with.

Thankfully, since they secured the top seed, they’ll have time to rest until Oct. 19 for the semifinal, given their hard work at securing the top seed and a bye, but they still have a lot of work cut out for them. Knowing the Beacons, they’re good as gold, and will be ready to light up anybody that stands in their way. 

 

  1. 2023-24 Women’s Tennis Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  2. Women’s Tennis Continues Banner Week with Sweep of Plymouth – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  3. https://beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/10/9/womens-tennis-rain-or-shine-beacons-win-extended-match-over-ric-to-cap-off-4-0-week.aspx
  4. Women’s Tennis Secures LEC’s Top Seed – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor