NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA - The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's tennis team has been picked to finish first in the Little East Conference this spring.
The Corsairs received 48 points and six of the seven first place votes in the annual LEC Pre-Season Coaches' Poll.
Bridgewater State was picked to finish second with 37 points, while UMass Boston received 36 points and the other first place vote.
Southern Maine and Western Connecticut State tied for fourth with 22 points. Salem State was sixth with 21 points, and Rhode Island College was seventh with 11 points.
"I think we deserve it (the first place ranking)," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Tom Mendell. "If you look at our record, we've qualified for the NCAAs three times in the last four years and we should have a good chance to qualify again."
Mendell foresees a tough conference race.
"The biggest competition will probably be UMass Boston, which returns most of their lineup, plus a transfer from Salem State," said Mendell. "Bridgewater State will also be tough; they return a lot of their players as well."
The Corsairs return most of a formidable lineup.
"I have high expectations for this team," said Mendell. "We return three All-Conference players in both singles and doubles. (Senior) Karsten Rathlev (Winchester, MA/Winchester HS) was 5-1 in the league last season, (senior) Brennan Dugas (East Falmouth, MA/Falmouth HS) was 5-0, and (junior) Matt Bejtlich (Rochester, MA/Moses Brown HS) was 5-1.
"The three of them were 23-5 overall in singles. We also return (sophomore) Ray Lawton (Fairhaven, MA/Fairhaven HS) from last year's team, plus we have newcomers (sophomore) Patrick Lewis (Dorchester, MA/Dorchester HS) and (freshman) Dan Chouinard (Westport, MA/Westport HS)."
UMass Dartmouth will open its 2013 season at Becker Tuesday, March 26th.
UMASS DARTMOUTH TENNIS