Nichols Seeks Eighth Straight CCC Men’s Tennis Tournament Title As Preseason Favorite

Nichols Seeks Eighth Straight CCC Men’s Tennis Tournament Title As Preseason Favorite

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Nichols men’s tennis team, winners of the past seven Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament Championships, looks poised to continue the streak in 2019 as the Bison were picked first in the CCC Men’s Tennis Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Nichols earned all eight first place votes for 64 points in the poll that was conducted by the eight CCC men’s tennis coaches last week.

The defending tournament champions are coming off a perfect conference season after going 8-0 in league (20-4 overall) play last year. As the No. 1 seed in the CCC Tournament, they earned a bye directly into the semifinal round where they swept No. 4 seed Endicott, 5-0. The Bison earned the league’s NCAA automatic qualifier in the championship match knocking off No. 2 seed Eastern Nazarene, 5-3.

In the national tournament, Nichols earned its fourth straight first round win, defeating Baruch, 5-0. However, the Bison still struggled to get past the second round as the they were swept by Amherst to end their tournament run.

Endicott and Roger Williams, which were both CCC semifinalists in 2018, tied for the second spot in the poll with 51 points apiece. Gordon and Western New England, which were the two other teams to qualify for the CCC Tournament a year ago ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. The Fighting Scots earned 39 points, while the Golden Bears collected 35.

Wentworth (21 points), Salve Regina (14), and Curry (13), finished out the rest of the poll.

The first spring tennis match of the season for a CCC team is on Feb. 24 as Endicott matches up with Emerson. The CCC opens conference play this year on Saturday, March 30. The top six teams in the conference standings will qualify for the 2019 CCC Men’s Tennis Championship, which begins with the quarterfinal round on Saturday, April 27. The semifinals will take place on Wednesday, May 1, followed by the championship on Saturday, May 4. The winner of the championship match will be named the CCC Tournament Champion will earn the conference's automatic qualifier in to the 2019 NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championship.

Click HERE to view the whole 2019 CCC men’s tennis schedule.

 

2019 CCC Men's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll

  Team Points (First Place Votes)
1. Nichols 64 (8)
T-2. Endicott 51
T-2. Roger Williams 51
4. Gordon 39
5. Western New England 35
6. Wentworth 21
7. Salve Regina 14
8. Curry 13

 

2019 CCC Men's Tennis Previews

Contributed by each school's sports information department.

 

1. Nichols

The Nichols men’s tennis team seeks its eighth-straight CCC Tournament Championship this spring. The Bison’s top three singles student-athletes – junior Brandon Howard (Hamden, Conn.), junior Guilherme Barbosa (Bradenton, Fla.), and senior Blake Norton (Stratford, Conn.) – all return for head coach Paul Brower. Junior Peter Coletti (Beverly, Mass.) went 6-1 this fall and hopes to contribute, along with senior Sebastian Penaloza (4-1 this fall) and junior Jack Donaldson (Easton, Md.) (three wins in fall). Barbosa, Howard, Norton, and Coletti all received CCC All-Conference honors last spring.


Blake Norton, NC

T-2. Endicott

After appearing in the CCC Semifinals in seven out of the last eight seasons, the Endicott men's tennis program (11-8, 5-3 CCC in 2018) will look to advance to the CCC Championship round in 2019.  

The Gulls will be led by the reigning CCC Rookie of the Year, Daniel Rinkert (Ben Lomond, Calif.), and fellow All-Conference selections Thomas Brent (Gorham, Maine) and Keaton McCleary (Charlotte, N.C.). Meanwhile, Endicott's senior class, consisting of Ozan Cermik (Cumberland, R.I.), Christos Papadopoulos (Weymouth, Mass.), Anthony Rinaldi (Attleboro Falls, Mass.), and McCleary, will also be relied upon to guide the squad this season.

Endicott begins the 2019 season against Emerson, on the road, at 1:30 PM on Sunday, Feb. 24.


Christos Papadopoulos, EC

T-2. Roger Williams

In 2018, the Roger Williams men's tennis team concluded the year with an overall record of 10-6 while going 6-2 in the conference to finish in third place in the regular season. Over the course of the season, the Hawks collected four 9-0 wins including one over in-state rival Salve Regina. In the postseason, RWU advanced to the semifinals after defeating No. 5 seed Western New England, 5-1, but were downed by No. 2 seed Eastern Nazarene.

The Hawks welcome two first-year players to the team and head coach Barry Gorman will guide a Hawk squad filled with a strong veteran presence, bringing back eight of ten players from last year’s squad including five starters. Part of the returning group is junior Brendan White (Old Lyme, Conn.), last year’s primary No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles player, as well as a 2018 All-CCC First Team – Singles selection.


Brendan White, RWU

4. Gordon

Gordon men’s tennis brings back five players from last year’s squad that went 7-10 overall and 5-2 in the CCC. Among those five are a pair of All-CCC honorees in upperclassmen Nathan Lookwhy (Westborough, Mass.) and Jonathan Frink (La Crescenta, Calif.). Lookwhy boasted a solid 5-2 record at No. 1 singles a season ago and looks to once again lead his troops in his final campaign, while Frink went 8-10 on the year and 4-3 in league matchups.

The Fighting Scots make their 2019 debut with a pitstop in Georgia to face LaGrange College before rerouting to Hilton Head, S.C. to play the remainder of their spring break contests.

Nathan LookwhyGC

5. Western New England

Western New England finished above .500 last season with an 8-7 record that included a 3-5 mark in CCC play.

The Golden Bears bring back all three of their All-CCC performers from 2017-18 in senior Justin Kohut (South Windsor, Conn.) and juniors David Kalmer (Slingerlands, N.Y.) and Luke Surawski (Wethersfield, Conn.).

Kalmer enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign last year, going 12-2 overall and 7-1 in singles action at the top singles flight. Kalmer also teamed up with Kohut to form one of the top doubles duos in the CCC, as they posted a 4-4 conference record and a 9-5 mark overall. Surawski earned All-CCC Third Team Singles honors after a solid season at the No. 2 spot.

Western New England’s 2019 season begins on the road at Norwich on Friday, March 1. The Golden Bears travel to Florida for several matches in mid-March, before opening their CCC and home slates against Nichols on Tuesday, April 2.


David Kalmer, WNE

6. Wentworth

After losing just one senior to graduation, the Wentworth men’s tennis team returns seven players and looks to make a run at its first CCC Tournament berth since the 2014 season. Leading the way for the Leopard returners is sophomore Jarrett North (Roanoke, Texas), who led the 2018 squad with an 8-4 record, including a 6-3 mark at No. 3 singles. Classmate Tyler Hall (Framingham, Mass.) picked up five wins at No. 2 singles and was a fixture at No. 1 doubles where he collected four victories. Another sophomore, Tristan Maus (Mansfield, Mass.) won four singles matches and three double matches a season ago, while junior Alex Mularski (Auburn, Mass.) also returns after his sophomore season saw him pick up four doubles wins.


Jarrett North, WIT

7. Salve Regina

Third-year head coach Peter Torgrimson returns a young squad led by senior captain D.J. Bisaillon (Watertown, Conn.). The Seahawks completed three matches in the fall without junior Trevor Jones (South Hamilton, Mass.) who studied abroad in Europe and continued to develop his skills in Real Tennis.

Jones rejoins sophomore Will Chasse (Smithfield, R.I.) as a potent doubles force for the Seahawks; the pair posted a team-best five doubles wins in 2017-18. Junior Aaron White (Falmouth, Mass.) enters his third season with both singles and doubles experience. He paired with Bisaillon in the final fall match last October for an 8-4 win at first doubles against Johnson & Wales' top duo.

Senior Kevin Hunt (Higganum, Conn.) helped welcome three newcomers to the Seahawk lineup – freshmen Drew Marzano (Clinton, Conn.), Matthew Newfield (Clinton, Conn.), and Michael Salazar (Carmel, N.Y.).


D.J. Bisaillon, SRU

8. Curry

The Curry men's tennis team will be comprised of two freshman, one sophomore, two juniors, and three seniors. The key returners include seniors Richie Hefler (Canton, Conn.), Dawson Stento (Wellesley Hills, Mass.) and junior Aidan Roach (Norwell, Mass.), a 2018 All-CCC Second Team Singles selection. The team will also turn to senior Daniel Ritucci (Middleboro, Mass.) and junior Samuel Pitts (Cohasset, Mass.) to be key players in both the singles and doubles lineups. The 2019 roster is rounded out by sophomore William Hobbs (Lafayette, Colo.) and freshman Timothy O’Brien (Attleboro, Mass.) and Lorenzo Russo (Lynnfield, Mass.). Curry will look to improve on a season in which they finished with a 1-17 overall record.

 
Aidan Roach, CC

 

 

ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE

The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one 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.

 

Stay up to date with all the latest news from the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)!
'Follow' us on
 Twitter and Instagram, and 'Like' us on Facebook!

 

-#CCCSports-