NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's golf team will begin their annual quest for the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III Championships when they open their season at Middlebury's Duke Nelson Invitational this weekend. Competition takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Ralph Myhre Golf Course.
"I think we'll have a very competitive team this year," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Joel Baptista. "The makeup of this team is very similar to the 2010 team that went to nationals. We have the same depth, the practice will be more challenging, and there will be people competing to get onto the travel team and go to the tournaments."
The Corsairs' 11-member squad was picked following fall tryouts. "We had an outstanding tryout, some people came out, and the cream came to the top."
Several newcomers will be counted on to make their mark. "(Junior) Pete Danko (Norton, MA/Norton HS/Massachusetts) was a pleasant surprise, he looks to be pretty consistent, and (junior) Brandon Oldham (Mattapoisett, MA/Old Rochester Regional HS) came back in great shape," said Baptista. "We're hoping that (senior) Matt Connolly (Lynnfield, MA/Lynnfield HS) can get back to his 2010 form, and (junior) Brandon Kelleher (Hopedale, MA/Hopedale HS) is finally back at 100 per cent, he was very consistent during the tryout."
Several other golfers also stepped up "(Senior) John Coucci (Mattapoisett, MA/Old Rochester Regional HS) had one of his best falls in a while, he came in ready to play," said Baptista. "(Senior) Kevin Rewinski (West Springfield, MA/West Springfield HS), (junior) Ryan Benton (Whitman, MA/Whitman-Hanson HS/Massasoit CC), and (senior) George Gillmore (Cotuit, MA/Barnstable HS/Fairfield) all had good tryouts, and will compete for a spot in the top five. We have some freshmen who have talent. Once they get settled in, they will push the upper classmen."
Three freshmen will be in the mix. "Jake Fryzel (Dartmouth, MA/Dartmouth HS) had one of the best nine-hole scores in the tryout," said Baptista. "Sean Griffith (Bourne, MA/Bourne HS) is a good athlete, and Colin Campbell (Marlborough, MA/St. John's HS) came back the second day and earned a spot. I think we're deeper than we have been, and that is going to help us in the long run."
Competition should bring out the best in the team. "We could have different guys playing each week," said Baptista. "People will have to play well in the tournaments to keep their spot in the rotation; otherwise, it will be up for grabs."
The fall schedule leads up to the GNAC Championships, hosted by Anna Maria October 21st and 22nd. "We go to Middlebury early, and then we have a couple of weeks to work on things before we go to Southern Maine and Johnson & Wales," said Baptista. "We'll see some of the teams in our conference, and we'll see what we have to work on. We have a lot of returning players from last year, and we want to send them out on a high note. We have to work hard in practice and keep trying to achieve our goal."
UMASS DARTMOUTH GOLF