official release from Taylor Alward - LEC Assistant Commissioner
PAWTUCKET, R.I. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth took home the top spot in the women's tennis preseason coaches' poll, narrowly edging out Rhode Island College by one point. The Corsairs earned 58 points and three first-place votes as the Anchorwomen finished with 57 points and three first-place votes.
UMass Dartmouth ends Rhode Island College's four-year reign as the preseason favorite in large part to the returners for head coach Douglas Chapman. After finishing 10-5 (6-2 LEC) last season, the Corsairs bring back all six singles starters including First-Team All-LEC Single and Doubles member Jenna Lahaie, and Second-Team All-LEC singles members Mollie McCaffreyand Jaime Fastino. Molina Oung also returns after posting a 12-1 record in singles competition a year ago.
Rhode Island College, who finished second last season with a record of 13-2 (7-1 LEC) and fell to Bridgewater State in the championship match, is looking for continued success led by 2016 LEC Player of the Year Dayna Reilly. Reilly finished 14-1 in singles play last season as well as 14-1 in doubles play with partner Julie Reddy, who graduated. Head coach Adam Spring also sees the return of All-LEC Second Team Singles player Laura Nastasi and the All-LEC Second Team Doubles team of Katherin Braganca and Bella Romeo.
Bridgewater State also earned three first-place votes after the Bears won the 2016 Women's Tennis Championship. Head coach David Purpura's Bears finished third in the poll with 54 points. After a 12-6 (7-1 LEC) record last year, Bridgewater State brings back its full lineup including All-LEC First-Team Singles member Bojana Roman who tied for the lead on the team with an 11-4 record at the No. 2 singles spot. Roman also was named All-LEC Second Team Doubles with returning partner Ali Scagnelli.
Worcester State finished fourth in the poll earning 38 points followed by a tie for fifth with UMass Boston and Plymouth State each getting 33 points. Western Connecticut (23 points) finished seventh, followed by Salem State (18), and Southern Maine (9).
2017 Little East Conference Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. UMass Dartmouth – 58 (3)
2. Rhode Island College – 57 (3)
3. Bridgewater State – 54 (3)
4. Worcester State - 38
5. UMass Boston – 33
Plymouth State - 33
7. Western Connecticut State - 23
8. Salem State - 18
9. Southern Maine - 9
Conference play will consist of each team meeting each other once during the regular season, with interleague play scheduled to begin on September 9. The top six teams in the final regular season conference standings will participate in the 2016 LEC Women's Tennis Championship. The tournament is scheduled to begin on October 17, with the championship match scheduled for October 21.
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.