Bridgewater State picked to win 2013 title; PSU fourth
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Little East women's tennis coaches have chosen Bridgewater State University as the preseason favorite to capture the regular-season title. The three-time defending regular-season champion Bears are coming off a 13-3 season that included a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Bridgewater State received seven first-place votes and 77 total points to sit atop the preseason survey for the second straight season. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth earned the remaining two first-place votes to finish three points off the Bears' pace. Rhode Island College (51) edged Plymouth State University (50) and Salem State University (50) by just a point for third place to complete the top-half of the preseason poll.
For the second consecutive campaign, Bridgewater State posted an undefeated mark in the conference circuit in 2012. The Bears are currently riding an 18-match win streak against Little East opponents, suffering its last loss to the Corsairs on Oct. 9, 2010. Bridgewater State made its fifth straight appearance in the Little East Championship by dispatching the fourth-seeded Panthers in the semifinals. The Bears raised the program's second Little East Championship trophy in the past three seasons with a 5-0 victory over the Lady Vikings. Bridgewater State earned its third berth into the NCAA Division III tournament, but fell to Endicott College in the first round.
The Bears welcome nine student-athletes, including five starters, back into the fold from the 2012 squad. Senior Jenna Williamson (Ludlow, Mass.) will lead the Bridgewater State lineup from the No. 1 singles position. The two-time Little East Player of the Year has yet to lose a match to a conference opponent, sporting an overall record of 24-0. The Bears open their 2013 slate at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 5, when Bridgewater State will travel to Gordon College for a non-conference match.
The UMass Dartmouth sideline will have a different look for the first time in 15 years as Doug Chapman replaced longtime head coach Ralph Perry, who announced his retirement at the end of the 2012 campaign. Chapman will inherit a Corsair squad that posted an overall record of 10-2 last season, including a 7-1 mark inside the conference circuit. UMass Dartmouth finished second in the Little East regular-season standings and earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. The Corsairs were upset in the semifinals, 5-3, by third-seeded Salem State.
UMass Dartmouth will return its top six singles players and seven total student-athletes from last season. Senior Nicole Pelletier (Swansea, Mass.) and junior Hannah Schulze (Chelmsford, Mass.) will provide the Corsairs with a powerful 1-2 punch atop their singles lineup. In 2012, Pelletier registered a 7-4 record at No. 1 singles, while Schulze garnered All-Little East, second-team honors at No. 2 singles. UMass Dartmouth will begin its 2013 schedule at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 16, when the Corsairs host Wentworth.
The top-six teams in the final regular-season standings advance to the 2013 Little East Women's Tennis Championship with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds earning a first-round bye and home court advantage in the semifinal round. The Little East championship match is scheduled for Saturday, October 26 at the highest remaining seed. The conference champion will earn the automatic qualifier into the 2014 NCAA Division III Championship.
Completing the preseason coaches' poll in projected order of finish in the final regular-season standings are Worcester State University (36), University of Southern Maine (33), University of Massachusetts Boston (24), and Western Connecticut State University (10), respectively.
Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and citizenship.
2013 Little East Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll
|Rank||Institution||1st Place||Total Points|
|3||Rhode Island College||51|
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