May 7, 2009
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's women's tennis team will make their NCAA debut when they face 18th-ranked Bowdoin Friday at 2:00 p.m. at the Amherst College Tennis Courts. The Polar Bears are 8-8 and earned an at-large bid after losing to Tufts in the first round of the New England Small College Athletic Conference Tournament last Friday. UMass Dartmouth is 15-1, winning their final 10 matches of the season after losing to Simmons, 5-4 on September 24th. The Corsairs hosted and won the LEC Tournament, defeating Bridgewater State in the championship match, 5-3 on October 19th.
"I'm really excited about it, we're in uncharted waters," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Ralph Perry. "This is completely new to me and new to the kids. I'm excited to go, and our team is pumped up, they can't wait to get going."
The Corsairs, who played their regular season last fall, have been preparing for the last few weeks, while Bowdoin and the rest of the NESCAC teams just completed their season. "We practiced for two and a half weeks, and had a four-way scrimmage," said Perry. "If you're planning on going to the NCAAs, it's a disadvantage playing in the fall. The fall does have the advantage of having weather that is more conducive to tennis, plus, we have a week in August before classes start where we can have double (practice) sessions."
Bowdoin's ranking is more of an indication of the strength of their team than their record. "For Bowdoin to make it into the NCAAs as an 8-8 team means they have played some really outstanding teams, so they are going to be a tough opponent," said Perry. "I'm looking for us to be battling a team that's been pretty well tested all spring."
With this being the Corsairs' first-ever trip to the NCAAs, Perry is trying to make sure they take the right approach. "We're trying to get everyone in the right frame of mind, and make sure they stay focused," said Perry. "I want our team to go out and play their best, and I don't want them coming off the court and saying they should have played better. Win or lose, you want to be able to say that you've done your best. The other teams have been there before, but if we go again next year, we'll already be battle-tested, and that will help."
The winner of the UMD-Bowdoin match will play 19th-rated Tufts Saturday at 2:00 p.m., while the title match is slated for Sunday at 12 noon.
UMASS DARTMOUTH TENNIS