UMass Tennis Prepares For One-Match Weekend

Fri Feb 9, 2018
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts women's tennis program continues its spring season slate with its second consecutive split weekend, which includes a trip to Brown on Fri., Feb. 2 and a home match against St. John's at the Bay Road Tennis Club on Sun., Feb. 4.

Minutewomen Down St. John's For Second Spring Win
University of Massachusetts tennis rallied back for a 4-3 victory over St. John's at the Bay Road Tennis Club on Sunday afternoon. The Minutewomen put forth the comeback effort with victories at No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5 singles after the team dropped the doubles point.

Ana Yrazusta put Massachusetts on the scoreboard with her 6-3, 6-1 win over Zofia Stanisz at No. 2 singles. After Kajsa Stegrell downed Laura Moreno 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4 singles, Janja Kovacevic evened the team score at two-all with her 6-2, 7-6 triumph over Collins. Ruth Crawford fought through a three-set battle with Olaya Inclan Solis at No. 1 singles and worked her way to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory over St. John's top competitor. Anna Napadiy secured the Minutewomen their team win with her clutch performance at No. 5 singles, during which she outworked Nina Marjanovic en route to the 6-4, 6-2 win.

Maroon and White Collect First Spring Win
Massachusetts swept Bryant, 7-0, for its first win of the spring season. The Minutewomen did not drop a match in the process as they won all three doubles pairings before taking six singles victories. Ana Yrazusta and Laura Moreno battles for a 7-6 (7-5) win at No. 1 doubles after Ruth Crawford and Janja Kovacevic (No. 2) and Anna Napadiy and Ashley Avery (No. 3) won handily, 6-1 and 6-2, respectively.

Crawford provided a dramatic match win at No. 1 singles over Ashanti Campfield 6-1, 6-4. After handily winning the first set, Crawford trailed in the second set, 3-0, before she won six of the next seven games for the victory. Moreno also rallied for a win at No. 4 singles over Stefanie Arroyo 2-6, 6-4 (10-6).

Brown Connections
Massachusetts heads East to Providence, R.I., for its first match of the weekend against a familiar foe for head coach Juancarlos Nunez and the Minutewomen. Nunez was an assistant coach for Brown women's tennis and Bears head coach Paul Wardlaw during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. The first-year Maroon and White leader helped Wardlaw lead Brown to 27 victories over Nunez's two seasons as an assistant. Massachusetts also has a history of playing in the Brown Invitational each fall season each of the last five years. The last time the teams met for head-to-head dual play, the Bears came away with a 6-1 win on Feb. 3, 2017. Yrazusta won at No. 3 singles while two additional singles matches went to third-set tiebreakers.

Minutewomen Build Toward 2018 Season With Successful Exhibition Win
The University of Massachusetts tennis program challenged Providence College in an exhibition match at the Bay Road Tennis Club on Sun., Jan. 21 and claimed a sweep-victory over the Friars. Massachusetts opened the day with victory in all four doubles matches - three counting toward team scoring for the doubles point - that put the Minutewomen ahead of Providence heading into singles action. Following a short break in the action, all eight Minutewomen returned to the courts for singles play and claimed victory over their Friar counterparts. As it was an exhibition match, no individual scoring outcomes were made available.

UMass Tennis Fall Season Recap
Massachusetts challenged itself throughout the fall season with trips to the Brown Invitational, Bulldog Invitational and Big Green Invitational, alongside a home dual match victory over Connecticut and a trip to the ITA Northeast Regionals. Playing in a mock dual match format at each of the invitationals, the Minutewomen claimed team victories over Harvard, Rutgers, Stony Brook and Yale. 

The Maroon and White collected a victory in their lone home contest of the fall, an Oct. 11, 2017 tilt with regional rival Connecticut. Massachusetts continued its recent dominance over the Huskies via wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, as well as singles victories from Ruth Crawford (No. 2), Janja Kovacevic (No. 3) and Martina Bocchi (No. 6). It marked the sixth team victory for UMass in the most recent seven meetings between the sides.

Individual play at the ITA Northeast Regionals netted one of the best outcomes in program history. Crawford reached the quarterfinal round with victories over Syracuse's Maria Tritou, No. 5 seed Ashley Zhu of Penn and Connecticut's Yelyzaveta Pletnyeva. In doing so, she became just the second Minutewoman to advance through to the quarterfinals. Simultaneously, Ana Yrazusta and Laura Moreno also advanced to the quarterfinals of the doubles bracket with victories over LIU Brooklyn, No. 5 seed Syracuse and No. 9 seed Drexel. Combining Crawford's work in singles and Yrazusta and Moreno's success in doubles, 2017 marked the first time Massachusetts sent a singles player and a doubles pair into the quarterfinal round.

The Minutewomen
The 2017-18 University of Massachusetts tennis program returned eight members of its 2016-17 Atlantic 10 Championship-winning squad for the current campaign, including all-conference selections Ruth CrawfordJanja Kovacevic and Ana Yrazusta. Kovacevic, the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, and Yrazusta took home first team spots as a freshman and junior, respectively, while Crawford earned a second team nod last season as a sophomore.

Including Kovacevic, the current sophomore class is tied for the largest on the team, with four members: Ashley AveryMartina BocchiTami Comins and Kovacevic. Last year, Avery paired with Brittany Collens for key depth at doubles play, including during wins over Army West Point, Georgetown and Quinnipiac. Bocchi contributed mainly at No. 5 and No. 6 singles during the spring, 2017, and came through with wins in singles and doubles against Fairleigh Dickinson. Comins did not see match action in the spring, but made a pair of appearances in the fall and won once over Brown.

The freshmen class includes Meghan BernardJovana BogicevicSarah Mezini and Anna Napadiy. All four gained experience on the Mullins Center Courts during the fall semester and look to add depth to the defending Atlantic 10 Champions alongside senior Michelle Katzelnik as the squad approaches a challenging spring slate.

UMass Tennis Claims Intra-Program History At ITA Northeast Regionals
University of Massachusetts tennis posted one of its most successful ITA Northeast Regional Championship showings in team history during the 2017 holding of the event, as the Minutewomen moved singles and doubles entries all the way through to the quarterfinal round.

In doubles action, Ana Yrazusta and Laura Moreno met Drexel's Ghita Benhadi and Kendra Bunch, the No. 9 seeded pair, in the third round and prevailed 8-7 (6) for the program's second-ever berth into the quarterfinals. There, Yrazsuta and Moreno battled back and fourth with No. 4 seeded Kristina Mathis and Racquel Lyn from Dartmouth, but dropped the match, 8-5.

Ruth Crawford rolled into the quarterfinals of the singles bracket where she met No. 1 seeded Gabriela Knutson of Syracuse. Crawford dropped the match 6-0, 6-2 to the 2015-16 ITA Northeast Region Rookie of the Year and the No. 68-ranked competitor in the country during 2016-17, but joined Magdalena Plochas as one of only two Minutewomen to reach the quarterfinal round of the singles bracket at the ITA Northeast Regional Championships. In order to reach the quarterfinals, Crawford needed victories over Syracuse's Maria Tritou, No. 5 seed Ashley Zhu from the host institution, the University of Pennsylvania and Connecticut's top player, Yelyzaveta Pletnyeva.

Minutewomen Take 4-3 Dual-Match From Connecticut
University of Massachusetts tennis successfully defended the Mullins Center Courts with a 4-3 victory over visiting-Connecticut on Wed., Oct. 11. The Minutewomen won the doubles point and added victories at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 6 singles for the team's first dual match triumph of the season.

In doubles competition, Ana Yrazusta and Laura Moreno downed Jacquelyn Fitz-Randolph and Gillian Perrotta, 6-2 before Anna Napadiy and Ashley Avery clinched the doubles point with a 7-6 (5) win over Summer Walker and Jacqueline Lazaro.

Martina Bocchi (No. 6) was the first finisher in singles and posted Massachusetts to a two-point advantage when she downed Zaina Zaki, 6-2, 6-1. Crawford (No. 2) followed closely behind Bocchi and pushed the edge to three points with her 6-3, 6-3 decision against Fitz-Randolph.

The Huskies cut the lead to a pair as Lazaro won over Moreno (No. 4) by a 6-2, 6-3 score. However, Kovacevic (No. 3) silenced the comeback with her 7-5, 6-4 victory against Walker.

Juancarlos Nunez Returns To Massachusetts Tennis As Head Coach
A familiar face returns to the Mullins Center courts in 2017-18 as the University of Massachusetts welcomes Juancarlos "JC" Nunez back to the tennis program as the team's head coach. Nunez spent the last two years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Brown University following a six-year stint as the assistant coach for the Minutewomen. He succeeds legendary coach Judy Dixonwho retired following the 2016-17 season after leading UMass to an Atlantic 10 Championship title and the NCAA Tournament.

At Brown, Nunez helped guide a pair of All-Ivy League selections in 2015-16 and 2016-17. He coached the leading doubles pair of Alyza Benotto and Dayna Lord to the program's highest national ranking (No. 45) in program history. In addition to his on-the-court work, Nunez was also responsible for all academic supervision, assisting with fundraising efforts, and coordination of recruiting, social media and compliance work.

In his time with the Minutewomen (2009-15), Nunez helped the program post six-consecutive winning seasons including a pair of finals appearances in the Atlantic 10 Championships alongside two other semifinal appearances. He was named the ITA Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2013.

Overall, Nunez helped 16 players earn All-Atlantic 10 honors highlighted by rising senior Ana Yrzusta's 2015 A-10 Most Outstanding Rookie accolade. Additionally, UMass was tabbed an ITA All-Academic Team twice during his tenure while 19 Minutewomen were named ITA Scholar-Athletes. Nunez assembled four top-25 recruiting classes in his six years with Dixon as well.

Prior to UMass, Nunez served as an assistant coach for the women's tennis team at his alma mater, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, in 2008-09.

Seaborne Joins UMass Tennis Program As Assistant Coach
University of Massachusetts tennis head coach Juancarlos Nunez announced the hiring of Ruth Seaborne as an assistant coach on Thursday. Seaborne joins the Minutewomen following time spent on the staffs at Iowa, her alma mater, and Utah State.

Seaborne spent the 2016-17 school year as a volunteer assistant women's tennis coach at Iowa. In her role, she worked on the daily management of the program, including with head and assistant coaches to plan and lead drills and practices. Simultaneously, she assisted with travel and supervision of the team to away dual matches. The Hawkeyes put forth a 16-9 overall record during her campaign, which included Big Ten victories over Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Prior to her campaign as a volunteer assistant at Iowa, Seaborne served as an assistant coach for Utah State women's tennis. She worked daily with the team's student-athletes on and off the court while delved into national and international recruiting. Seaborne was also responsible for the team's match scheduling and managed Utah State women's tennis' player and team equipment.

Seaborne graduated for the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in psychology in May, 2015 following two seasons as a standout for the Hawkeyes. She was an All-Big Ten First Team honoree and team MVP in 2013 and 2014

Seaborne transferred to Iowa following two seasons at Florida State University in 2011 and 2012. During her time with the Seminoles, Seaborne helped the squad reach the NCAA Tournament twice, while she helped FSU reach the school's first-ever ACC Final in 2011. She was ranked nationally during all four years as a student-athlete at Florida State (2011-12) and Iowa (2013-14), and reached as high as No. 28 in doubles and No. 54 in singles.

Massachusetts Wins 2017 Atlantic 10 Championship
For the first time since 2001, the UMass women's tennis team advanced to the NCAA Tournament after the Minutewomen won the Atlantic 10 Championship title on Sun., April 30 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. The second-seeded Minutewomen defeated four-time defending champion and top-seeded VCU 4-2 in a thrilling match that saw Anna Woosley earn the winning point at No. 4 singles in her third set.

Woosley sealed the title for UMass in dramatic fashion. After losing her first set at No. 4 singles, the senior battled back to win her second set 6-4. She led 3-1 in the third set before VCU's Darya Berezhnaya fought back to tie at 3-3.  The 58 minute match saw Woosley win the next two games to go up 5-3. Berezhnaya fought back to tie the ninth game 40-40, but the native of West Sussex, England played a cross-court backhand that was returned out-of-bounds. As she realized the match-securing point was hers, Woosley collapsed on the court as her teammates ran over to mob her in celebration.

UMass Tennis On Social Media
Follow University of Massachusetts tennis on social media throughout the season via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (UMassTennis).