NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-Three times in the last four seasons, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's tennis team has won the Little East Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships.
The Corsairs will try to make it four trips in five years this season, and their quest begins Thursday, when they host Southern Maine in the semi-finals of the LEC Tournament. The match begins at 3:00 at the UMass Dartmouth Athletic Complex.
UMD is 8-3 overall, 5-1 in the LEC and is the second seed in the tournament. USM is 11-5 and 4-2 and is the third seed, and has won four consecutive matches and nine of their last 10, including a 5-0 quarter-final playoff win against Rhode Island College Tuesday at the Gorham High School courts.
UMass Dartmouth is meeting the Huskies for the second time this season. The teams met Sunday, April 21st, and the Corsairs, who were without number two singles and doubles player Brennan Dugas (East Falmouth, MA/Falmouth HS/New York City Tech) in that match, pulled out a 5-4 victory over USM, their closest victory of the season. UMD has won six consecutive matches since losing back to back matches against UMass Boston and Springfield April 6th and 9th and hopes to continue their winning ways.
"We had a real tough match against Southern Maine when we played them last time,," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Tom Mendell. "I'm looking for another tough match, and, hopefully, we can win and get to play UMass Boston again. If we do, it will probably be the toughest match of the year. If we have our complete lineup, we should be in decent shape. Due to class conflicts and injuries, we haven't been able to have our complete lineup in every match, and we have had a few losses as a result."
The Corsairs' loss to UMass Boston April 6th broke a streak of 14 consecutive LEC regular season wins that ironically began in 2010 when UMD downed the Beacons, 9-0, for their only conference win of the season. The Corsairs went 6-0 in each of the next two regular seasons, winning the regular season title and the post-season tournament and advancing to the NCAAs in each year. UMass Dartmouth has now won 20 of their last 21 regular season conference matches, and has won their last four LEC playoff matches as well.
The other LEC semi-final Thursday matches Bridgewater State and host UMass Boston. The championship match is scheduled for Saturday at the home of the highest seeded team. The winner earns the LEC's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
UMASS DARTMOUTH TENNIS