By Sports Editor Tom Griffin
A tumultuous series of back-and-forth battles found UMassD women’s tennis 2-1 through three series against Clark University, Bentley, and Castleton last week.
Beginning the triple-header with Clark, UMassD managed to edge out their opponent by winning five of nine matches. Contributing to this series win was the team’s strong performance in singles matches, winning four of six due to confident play from Freshman Lauren Morgart, Senior Jaime Fastino, Junior Michelle Aftandillian and Sophomore Jackie Bokis.
Aftandillian later joined Junior Jordan Martin in doubles to win the tiebreaker match and upset Clark on the road, climbing to 4-1 on the season.
The second series of the three, slated against Bentley, tore the wind from the Corsairs’ sails in an out-of-conference 7-2 rout in favor of the Falcons. Ending the meeting with only one single and one double win, UMassD had the optimism of their 4-1 start stifled in the exhibition match. The Aftandillian-Martin duo returned once more to pull through and prevail in their doubles match once again, while the former won the team’s only single on the day, as the result of a late surge from the UMassD Junior deep into the third set.
Licking the wounds of their previous lashing, the Corsairs anticipated their final challenge of the week: playing at Castleton, in the only Little East Conference-relevant matchup of the week.
The rebounding series against the Spartans started, proceeded and concluded in UMassD’s favor. Steamrolling the Little East Competition, the Corsairs won all nine matches throughout the series.
Every Corsair suited to play performed to their fullest, sweeping each and every match in just one or two sets. Lauren Morgart, Jaime Fastino, Michelle Aftandillian, Melanie Won and Jackie Bokis all won their singles in decisive six-game straight sets. Rachel Aftandillian, after nearly sweeping the first set, felt some resistance from her opponent before forcefully closing the match out at seven games in the second set.
Michelle, on the other hand, did not allow her opponent a single game over the course of her singles match.
In fact, many of the Corsairs won in landslide fashion, including Jackie Bokis allowing two games over two sets, and Melanie Wong allowing only one.
The three doubles matches were decided in favor of UMassD over single eight-game sets each, of which Lauren Morgart and Jaime Fastino swept the first, Natasha Shiku and Hana Hershey won the second. and Michelle Aftandillian and Jordan Martin returned to claim their third doubles win of the week.
Despite their pummeling of an in-conference Castleton, the Corsairs sit at just 1-2 within the Little East Conference. Winning over the Spartans may have playoff implications, but first the Team must face off against three back-to-back Little East showdowns, spending the week against Rhode Island College, Southern Maine and Plymouth State.