NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's golf team will try to set the tone for their spring season when they begin second semester action at the Rhode Island College Invitational on April 2nd and 3rd.
The Corsairs, who concluded their fall season by finishing third in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championships, return 10 of the 12 players who played last fall.
"We'll be looking to build on some of the success we had in the fall," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Joel Baptista. "We had a win, we had a tie for first, and we had a second place finish, we had a member of the All-Tournament Team (sophomore Nick Jagoe, Westport, MA/Westport HS), and we had a couple of players named to the All-Rookie Team (junior Matt Munden, Brockton, MA./Brockton HS, and freshman Conor O'Malley, Holliston, MA/Holliston HS)."
Munden will not play this spring, which will open up the competition for spots in the lineup. "Losing Matt this semester will hurt us a little bit, but it will put a little pressure on our top three players to step up, and it will put pressure on the rest of the team to step up and claim that spot."
The leaders will be counted on. "Nick is the type of player who pushes himself," said Baptista. He's never happy with his score, he never gives up, and he's a player you know you can count on. We're also looking for some good things from (senior) Rob (Leaver, Lakeville, MA/Apponequet HS) and (junior) Scott (Woodacre, Westborough, MA/Westborough HS), who played well last fall and gave us some good scores. Conor O'Malley, who played the five spot last fall, was very consistent as a freshman. Hopefully, with a semester under his belt, he feels a little bit more comfortable, since he knows the players and he knows some of the courses we've played. We're looking for (sophomore) John Coucci (Mattapoisett, MA/Old Rochester Regional HS) and (junior) Matt Brown (Stoneham, MA/Stoneham HS) to make some headway this spring. They could be fighting for a spot on the travel team."
The schedule will be challenging, although brief. "We have some great tournaments this spring, including hosting the Hampton Inn Classic," said Baptista. "Our team will be fired up. We didn't play well at home during the conference tournament, so we'll be looking for redemption. The spring is very unpredictable, everyone has to take what Mother Nature gives you, and, at the end of the day, everyone has to put the ball in the hole. With a young team that has had a balance of both success and failure, experience should make them all better golfers."
The Corsairs are looking for a good start. "As our top three golfers go, that's how the team will go," said Baptista. "It's a short season and a quick season, and everyone will have an opportunity to show what they are capable of. We'll be placing two teams into the Hampton Inn Classic, and, hopefully, everybody will get at least one tournament under their belt."
UMASS DARTMOUTH GOLF