May 7, 2011
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-Freshman Matt Bejtlich (Rochester, MA/Moses Brown HS) won the decisive match at number four singles as the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's tennis team defeated visiting Western Connecticut State, 5-4, in the Little East Conference championship match at the UMass Dartmouth Athletic Complex Saturday.
Bejtlich came back to defeat senior Andrew Kelley (Weston, CT/Canterbury School), 6-2, 6-7 (8-6), 6-1, breaking a 4-4 tie and giving the Corsairs their second LEC title in three years. Bejtlich was named the LEC Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
The Corsairs had built a 4-2 lead through the first six matches, but the Colonials came back and won at number one singles and number one singles to tie the score at 4-4 and set up the decisive singles match.
UMass Dartmouth took two of the three doubles matches to go ahead, 2-1. Sophomore Karsten Rathlev (Winchester, MA/Winchester HS), and junior Brennan Dugas (East Falmouth, MA/Falmouth HS/New York City Tech) defeated junior Troy Pandolfi (Danbury, CT/Danbury HS) and senior John Phillips (Hartford, CT/Northwest Catholic HS) at number one doubles, 8-6, and sophomore Mike Parker (Scituate, MA/Scituate HS) and Bejtlich downed junior Austin Werner (Fairfield, CT/Fairfield-Werde HS) and Kelley, at number two doubles, 8-3. At number three, the WCSU duo of freshman Brian Bucknam (Woodbury, CT/Nonnewaug HS) and freshman Ryan Klem (Newport, RI/Southington HS) defeated junior Brian Lui (Medfield, MA/Medfield HS) and sophomore Mike Giaquinto (East Falmouth, MA/Falmouth HS), 8-5.
Bucknam defeated Lui at number five singles to tie the score, 6-1, 6-1, but senior Taha Souayah (Ariana, Tunisia) downed Klem at number six singles, 6-1, 6-2, to make it 3-2. Parker then defeated Werner at number three, 6-3, 6-4, to give the Corsairs a 4-2 advantage.
Phillips then defeated Dugas at number two singles, 6-0, 2-6, 8-3, and Pandolfi defeated Rathlev at number one, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, to set the stage for the decisive match at number four singles.
"It was a great match, and I'm pleased for our team, they worked very hard for this," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Tom Mendell. "Karsten and Troy had a great match at number one, and Matt Bejtlich's performance was outstanding. Everyone was watching his match, and he came back after losing the second set. I couldn't be happier for him."
The Corsairs remained undefeated, improving to 11-0 with the victory, while the Colonials dropped to 10-3 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships for the second time in three years, and they will find out Monday where and when they will play. The match was the final competition of the season for Western Connecticut.
UMASS DARTMOUTH TENNIS