March 30, 2011
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-With their most important goal having been achieved, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's golf team will begin their spring season Friday as they get ready to become the first UMD golf team in 33 years to participate in the national championships.
The Corsairs, who earned a berth in the NCAA Division III Championships by winning the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship last fall, begin their season this weekend at the Rhode Island College Spring Invitational Tournament.
"Having achieved our goal of going to nationals in the fall, we are looking at our spring matched as getting us ready for nationals," said Head Coach Joel Baptista. "In the past, the spring season was short, and then the season as over. This spring, we will be looking for improvement and to be able to peak at the right time, as we head to nationals."
The Corsairs will look to take advantage of the weather as it improves. "In the winter, a lot of people couldn't get in the rounds they normally might," said Baptista. "We just started practicing last week. We want our momentum from the fall to carry over, and show that our success in the fall wasn't a fluke. We're going into each match trying to do our best, and we'll also look to get a chance to look at our team to see what we have going into next fall."
Depth will be a strength. "We've established a good core, and it will be tough to crack the top five," said Baptista. "We are going to make sure everyone gets a chance to play this spring. We'll field two teams for our home tournament, and we'll get everyone into action so we can assess what they need to work on this summer. We know what we're going to get from most of these guys. We have consistency from (junior) Nick (Jagoe, Westport, MA/Westport HS), " (sophomore) Matt (Connolly (Lynnfield, MA/Lynnfield HS) had a great fall, and hopefully, he can continue to play well. (Sophomore) Brandon (Oldham, Mattapoisett, MA/Old Rochester Regional HS/Allegheny College/BCC) and (junior) George (Gillmore, Cotuit, MA/Barnstable HS/Fairfield) did well, and (senior) Scott (Woodacre, Westborough, MA/Westborough HS) did well at times. We have depth through all nine of our players. (Freshman) Brendan Kelleher (Hopedale, MA/Hopedale HS), (freshman) Billy Guilford (Halifax, MA/Silver Lake Regional HS), (sophomore) Kevin Rewinski (West Springfield, MA/West Springfield HS) and (sophomore) John Coucci (Mattapoisett, MA/Old Rochester Regional HS) have all played well in practice. That's why we have to give everyone a chance to show what they can do this spring."
The extra time the Corsairs have to practice before nationals will be to their benefit. "The schools in the south and west have an advantage, they probably play and practice all year round," said Baptista. "Any extra practice time will help us. We want to go down and have a real good showing representing the conference and the university."
UMASS DARTMOUTH GOLF