NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA -The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's tennis team will begin play Friday when they participate in the NCAA Division III Championships for the third time in four seasons.
The Corsairs will meet Baruch, the champions of the City University of New York Athletic Conference, at noon Friday at the Farley Fieldhouse Outdoor Courts at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. The winner plays the host Polar Bears Saturday at 11 a.m. The regional championship is Sunday at noon and the winner earns a spot in the final eight at Cary, NC.
UMD earned their berth by winning the Little East Conference title and going 13-2 overall. The Bearcats finished 15-2.
"As far as I am concerned, this is the most talented group of young men that I've had in 10 years, as far as depth is concerned," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Tom Mendell. "We had four or five players, all of who could have played at numbers four through six. They were the hardest working, most dedicated and team-oriented group I've had."
Several players stood out. "Our number one doubles team of (junior) Karsten Rathlev (Winchester, MA/Winchester HS) and Guillaume Cotte (Grenoble, France) were the best doubles team we've had at number one," said Mendell. "They were 9-0, and Karsten, except for a three-set loss to the player who was first team All-Conference, could easily have been Player of the Year. Co-captain (senior) Brian Lui (Medfield, MA/Medfield HS) played positions two through five, and was a strong doubles player at number two or number three. (Junior) Mike Parker (Scituate, MA/Scituate HS) was undefeated for the second year in a row in Little East play."
The Corsairs' schedule has improved lately as their team has gotten better. "Over the past couple of years, we've tried to toughen up our schedule in hopes of preparing ourselves better for the NCAAs," said Mendell. "Hopefully, this has prepared us for the upcoming tournament."
With UMD and Baruch being the only teams in the regional who are not nationally ranked, a close match could be in the offing. Trinity (TX) and Skidmore, who are on the other side of the regional bracket, are rated 10th and 22nd nationally, respectively, while the host Polar Bears are ranked eighth.
"To prepare for Baruch, we tried to compare their scores against common opponents of our opponents, and, in doing so, it appears that we match up very well," said Mendell. "Obviously, we won't know until we play, but, on paper, it appears to be a very close match."
Mendell said a good start is important. "We have to get off to a good start in doubles," said Mendell. "If we could win at least two of the doubles matches that will set the tone for the singles. If everyone plays up to their capabilities, I'm enthusiastic about the outcome."
UMASS DARTMOUTH TENNIS