UMass Dartmouth Wins NCAA Tournament Debut
May 8, 2009
Courtesy UMass Dartmouth Athletics
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA-The first appearance for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's tennis team in the NCAA Division III Tournament was an artistic success. The Corsairs defeated Neumann, 5-2, in their first round match at the Torrence M. Hunt Tournament Courts at Williams Friday.
The Corsairs took the lead by winning two of the three doubles matches, taking a 2-1 lead when sophomore Mason Viau (Marion, MA/Bishop Hendricken HS/Connecticut) and senior Christoph Forster (Reading, MA/Reading HS) erased a 6-5 deficit to defeat Chris Brown and Dan Harnos at number two doubles, 8-6. Freshmen Troy Pandolfi (Danbury, CT/Danbury HS) and Karsten Rathlev (Winchester, MA/Winchester HS) put UMD on top when they defeated Dave Pfister and Brian Crispin at number one doubles, 8-3. Greg Bridgeman and Steve Klenk evened the score for the Knights when they downed junior Ken Sims (Chelmsford, MA/Chelmsford HS) and freshman Brian Lui (Medfield, MA/Medfield HS), 8-3.
Rathlev then defeated Crispin at number three singles, 6-0, 6-1, and Viau came from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to down Pfister, 6-4, 6-1 at number one. Bridgeman made it 4-2 when he defeated freshman Zach Engstrom (Taunton, MA/Taunton HS) at number four singles, 7-5, 6-4, but Forster clinched the match for the Corsairs when he downed Klenk at number six , 6-3, 7-6, winning the tie-breaker by a 7-5 count.
"We played super, and Neumann was a tough opponent, the match was a lot closer than the score indicated," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Tom Mendell. "Mason and Chris Forster came from behind in their doubles match, and that was a big point. Karsten was fantastic in both doubles and singles, Mason came from behind in his match, and Chris Forster won his match in a tie-breaker, and that was the fifth point and clinched it for us. Ken Sims and Troy Pandolfi were ahead in their matches as well. Our team just worked their tails off, and I couldn't be more pleased."
The Corsairs became the second Little East Conference team to win a first round match in the three seasons that the LEC has had an automatic berth in the NCAAs. Southern Maine won their first round match against Ithaca two years ago.
UMass Dartmouth improved to 13-1 with the victory, while Neumann dropped to 17-4 with the defeat. The Corsairs will face the seventh-ranked Williams, the host team, Saturday at 2:00 p.m, with the championship match scheduled for Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
"We have our work cut out for us against Williams, but you never know," said Mendell. "You have to expect the unexpected."