Nichols Selected As CCC Men’s Tennis Preseason Favorite, Seeking Seventh Straight Title

Nichols Selected As CCC Men’s Tennis Preseason Favorite, Seeking Seventh Straight Title

2018 CCC Men's Tennis Preseason Poll Video

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Nichols is seeking its seventh straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title in 2018. It will do so as the preseason favorite as the Bison earned the top spot in the 2018 CCC Men's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll.

The six-time defending CCC Champions earned 78 points in this year's voting, including six of the nine first place votes cast by CCC men's tennis head coaches.

Last season, Nichols finished the year with a 7-1 CCC (19-4 overall) record and claimed a share of the CCC Regular-Season Championship. It entered the CCC Championship as the No. 2 seed having lost the tiebreaker to Eastern Nazarene. However, the Bison were able to knock off the Lions, 5-3, to keep the championship streak going. In the NCAA Tournament, they defeated UMass Boston in the First Round to advance to the Second Round for the third straight year. They dropped the Second Round match with Bowdoin, 5-0.

Eastern Nazarene landed in the second spot in this year's poll registering 74 points and receiving the remaining three first place votes. The Lions had their best season in program history as they earned a share of the CCC Regular-Season Championship with a 7-1 CCC (17-4 overall) record. They also made their first-ever trip to the CCC Championship match where they would lose to Nichols.

The three, four, and five positions in this year's poll were each separated by a single point. CCC Semifinalist Roger Williams landed in the No. 3 spot with 55 points, followed immediately by Endicott, which was awarded 54 points. Gordon, the other 2017 CCC Tournament Semifinalist completed the top five with a 53 points.

Western New England (36 points) and Wentworth (27) landed in the sixth and seventh spots, respectively, while Curry (14) and Salve Regina (14) tied for eighth to round out the poll.

The spring portion of the men's tennis season starts on Friday, Feb. 23 as Gordon hosts Stonehill in non-conference action. The first conference matches are set to begin on Saturday, March 24. The top six teams in the 2018 regular-season conference standings will qualify for the CCC Tournament, which starts with the quarterfinals on Saturday, April 28 and concludes with the Conference Championship a week later on May 5. The CCC Tournament Champion will earn the conference's automatic qualifier in to the 2018 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship.

Click HERE to view the whole 2018 CCC men's tennis schedule.

 

2018 CCC Men's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll

 

Team

Points (First Place Votes)

1.

Nichols

78 (6)

2.

Eastern Nazarene

74 (3)

3.

Roger Williams

55

4.

Endicott

54

5.

Gordon

53

6.

Western New England

36

7.

Wentworth

27

T8.

Curry

14

T8.

Salve Regina

14

 

 

2018 CCC Men's Tennis Previews

1. Nichols

The Nichols College men's tennis teams looks to extend its CCC Championship streak to seven this spring. The 1-2 punch of junior Blake Norton (Stratford, Conn.) (17-4 in singles 2016-17, 6-1 CCC) and sophomore Brandon Howard (Hamden, Conn.) (seven wins at No. 2 singles) headlines the list of returning student-athletes for head coach Paul Brower, along with sophomore Guilherme Barbosa (Bradenton, Fla.) (14-6 singles mark).

   Blake Norton, NC

2. Eastern Nazarene

Junior Alex Partyka (Moscow, Russia) was named the CCC Player of the Year last year while sophomore Henry Siercke (Hamburg, Germany) is the reigning CCC Rookie of the Year. Along with Partyka and Siercke, sophomore Santiago Camero (Valencia, Venezuela) returns after earning All-CCC honors last spring.

Head coach Cristian Popa enters his 15th season at the helm of the program after being voted the CCC Coach of the Year a year ago.

The Lions compiled a 4-0 record in the fall season and opens the spring with a week-long trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina March 5-9.

   Alex Partyka, ENC

3. Roger Williams

Last spring, the Roger Williams men's tennis team wrapped up the year with a 10-8 overall record while finishing in fourth place in the CCC, finishing 5-3 overall. The Hawks defeated rival Endicott College 5-3 in the CCC Quarterfinals but were unable to advance back to championship match after falling to top-seeded Eastern Nazarene College.

This year's team looks to finally break through and collect its CCC Championship since 2011. Head Coach Barry Gorman will helm the program for his fifth season while returning nearly the entire starting lineup from last season. The Hawks add two newcomers to replace the two graduating seniors from last year's class, including 2017 All-CCC Second Team - Singles selection Brendan White (Old Lyme, Conn.).

   Brendan White, RWU

 

4. Endicott

After appearing in the CCC Semifinals in six out of the last seven seasons, the Endicott (11-8, 5-3 CCC in 2017) men's tennis program will look to advance to the CCC Championship round in 2018.

The Gulls will be led by Matthew Doherty (Plymouth, Mass.), Christopher Kirkpatrick (Newburyport, Mass.), Keaton McCleary (Charlotte, N.C.), Charles Book (Devon, Pa.), Justin Toler (Concord, N.H.), and Thomas Brent (Gorham, Maine). Kirkpatrick stands out among the group as an All-CCC First Team Singles and All-CCC Second Team Doubles honoree (with Toler) from last year. Meanwhile, Book, Brent, and Toler also collected All-CCC Third Team Singles accolades from a season ago as well.

    Christopher Kirkpatrick, EC

5. Gordon

Gordon returns six players from last year's team that went 16-6 (6-2 CCC) and advanced to the CCC Semifinals. Five of those players won ten or more matches. Senior Mason Casady (Santa Barbara, Calif.) returns and is only two wins short of 50 singles victories in his career. He went 14-8 playing in the No. 1 singles spot. Senior Peter Godwin (Manchester, Conn.) is three wins away from 40 career singles victories. He posted a 13-7 record primarily playing at the No. 6 singles spot. The Fighting Scots open the spring season Feb. 23 with a home match against Stonehill. They host Wentworth in the CCC opener March 24 after they return from their spring break trip to California.

    Mason Casady, GC

 

6. Western New England

After posting a 3-5 CCC record in each of the last three years, Western New England will look to get back to the .500 mark this spring. Now in her 15th season at the helm of the men's tennis program, head coach Jenn Kolins has established the Golden Bears as a consistent contender in the CCC.

The young Western New England squad will be led by junior Justin Kohut (South Windsor, Conn.) and sophomore David Kalmer (Slingerlands, N.Y.), who both earned All-CCC accolades in 2017. Sophomore Luke Surawski (Wethersfield, Conn.) will also be a key contributor after posting an 8-7 record as a freshman last season.

 

Western New England opens its 2018 campaign at Norwich on Tuesday, March 6. The Golden Bears will play several matches in Florida during their spring break trip later in the month, before CCC play gets underway at home against Wentworth on March 27.

 
David Kalmer, WNE

7. Wentworth

Under the direction of first-year head coach Kenny Hodgkins, the Wentworth men's tennis team looks to make a run at its first CCC Tournament berth since the 2014 season. An underclassmen-laden team, the Leopards will should rely on leadership from seniors Jeff Tocco (Plymouth, Mass.) and Seng Ly (Lynn, Mass.). Tocco, an All-CCC selection as a freshman, posted four wins a season ago, including three at number two. He was also a member of Wentworth's number one doubles tandem which won five matches last year. Ly competed at number three singles and number two doubles as a junior. Sophomore Alex Mularski (Auburn, Mass.) played number six singles a season ago and looks to move up after playing at both number three and number four during the fall.

 
Alex Mularski, WIT

T-8. Curry 

The Curry men's tennis team will welcome one freshman, one sophomore newcomer to the 2018 roster and returns six returners. Third Team All-CCC Singles Selection Aidan Roach (Norwell, Mass.) headlines the returners, along with Richie Hefler (Canton, Conn.), Zach Muller (Methuen, Mass.), Samuel Pitts (Cohasset, Mass.), Daniel Ritucci (Middleboro, Mass.), and Dawson Stento (Wellesley Hills, Mass.) close out the upperclassmen returnees. The Colonels will also turn to sophomore Michael Wales (Rye, N.Y.) and freshman Nicholas Piotrowski (Groveland, Mass.) as they round out this year's roster. Curry will look to improve on a season in which they finished with a 7-12 overall record. The Curry squad is looking forward to improving their record and conference standings.

 
Aidan Roach, CC

T-8. Salve Regina

Second-year head coach Peter Torgrimson returns a more experienced squad after having no seniors in his first season with the Seahawks. Seniors Kevin Brocks (Albany, N.Y.) and Will Masse (Wyoming, R.I.) will serve as captains in their fourth season on the team.

Several Seahawks posted winning records during the fall campaign including freshman Will Chasse (Greenville, R.I.), junior D.J. Bisaillon (Watertown, Conn.), and sophomore Aaron White (Falmouth, Mass.) in singles, and the doubles pairs of Masse/White and Chasse with classmate Trevor Jones (South Hamilton, Mass.). Salve Regina returns to the hard courts with a home match against UMass Dartmouth (March 20) before opening the conference campaign at Curry (March 24).

 
Will Chasse, SRU

 

Season previews contributed by each school's sports information department.

 

ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE

The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of ten full member and four associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.

 

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