DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The No. 2 seed University of Massachusetts Dartmouth made quick work of No. 3 seed Rhode Island College in Thursday's Little East Conference Men's Tennis Tournament semifinals, dispatching the Anchormen 5-1 to advance to its third conference title game in five years.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 5, Rhode Island College 1
Records: UMass Dartmouth (8-10, 4-2 LEC) | Rhode Island College (8-8, 4-2 LEC)
How it Happened
Senior Corey Rafter (Franklin, Mass.) and junior Patrick Pacheco (Fall River, Mass.) set the tone right from the get-go at the top flight in doubles competition. The duo picked up the first point for the Corsairs with an 8-3 win over RIC's William Tavares (Kingston, R.I.) and Lee Tiberi (Smithfield, R.I.).
The Anchormen next earned their lone point of the afternoon, when Chandler Scott (Ashaway, R.I.) and Cory Duquette (Warwick, R.I.) downed sophomore Anthony Joseph (Fairhaven, Mass.) and junior Justin Torres (Dighton, Mass.). Moments later, the Corsairs regained the lead with senior Summer Forest-Bulley (Turners Falls, Mass.) and junior Zach Pavao (Somerset, Mass.) gathered a close 8-6 win over RIC's Matthew Gambardella (West Warwick, R.I.) and Alan Esposito (Clinton, Conn.)
UMass Dartmouth's top three flights then finished the job. Joseph rebounded to down Scott for the first singles decision, 6-3, 6-0, and Pacheco defeated Tiberi with a pair of 6-2 sets. Rafter clinched the match quickly thereafter, finishing off Tavares 6-2, 6-3.
Inside the Numbers
- UMass Dartmouth reaches the LEC Championship match for the first time since 2015 and its first conference title since 2012, when the top-seeded Corsairs eased past Bridgewater State 5-0.
- The Corsairs have now claimed eight-straight victories over Rhode Island College dating back to the 2011 season. UMass Dartmouth previously defeated RIC 6-3 a week ago.
- Pacheco extends his singles win streak to six matches at No. 3 dating back to April 11.
The Corsairs advance to meet either top-seeded UMass Boston or No. 4 seed Bridgewater State for Saturday's Championship match. If the Bears secure the upset, the title match will be hosted by UMass Dartmouth. UMass Dartmouth fell to the Beacons by a 9-0 score and defeated Bridgewater State in a close 5-4 contest during the regular season.