May 7, 2009
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's tennis team will face another conference champion when they make their NCAA Division III Tournament debut Friday.
The Corsairs will face Neumann Friday at 2:00 p.m. at the Torrence M. Hunt Tournament Courts at Williams. The Knights are 17-3 and were champions of the Colonial States Athletic Conference, whose tournament they hosted and won. UMass Dartmouth is 12-1 after winning the Little East Conference Tournament at Salem State last Saturday.
"When I look back at the past records of some of the coaches who were here, like Warren Preti (104-34-1 in 12 seasons with six consecutive LEC championships between 1990 and 2001) and Jerry Aillery (58-2 in six seasons from 1967-72), who had fantastic records, obviously, we have a lot of tradition in tennis here," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Tom Mendell. "When you can be mentioned in the same sentence with those coaches, it makes me feel good personally about our team, our school, and what we have accomplished. When your lineup includes four freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and a senior, to have them accomplish what they did is very exciting, and also makes you look ahead to the next few years to see what they can accomplish as a team. They are very excited about the fact that they're the first UMass Dartmouth team ever to qualify for the NCAAs."
The Corsairs have won nine matches in succession since their only loss, a 5-4 defeat at Salem State that they avenged in the LEC final Saturday. "I think we've peaked at the right time," said Mendell. "Even though finals are coming up, our kids are still excited about playing, and they're excited about going to practice, and that's a good sign."
Neumann, which is coached by Christian Gosseaux, is in the NCAAs for the second time, losing to Stevens Tech, 5-0, in their initial appearance last year. "They're in the same situation as we are," said Mendell. "If we play up to our potential, we will give anybody a good match. It's a thrill for us to be in the tournament with ranked teams and be able to say that you held your own. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that."
The winner of the UMass Dartmouth-Neumann match will face the host Ephs Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
UMASS DARTMOUTH TENNIS