GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Scott Gagne (Lewiston, Maine) scored the fifth and final point en route to being named the 2015 Little East Conference Tournament's Most Outstanding Player as the University of Southern Maine Huskies' men's tennis team claimed its second consecutive Little East Conference Championship trophy with a 5-0 win over UMass Dartmouth Corsairs Saturday afternoon at the Gorham High School Tennis Courts.
With the win, Southern Maine, the top-seed in the tourney, earns its 10th consecutive victory and punches its ticket to the 2015 NCAA Division III National Championship tournament and improves to 13-2. The Huskies' opponent and schedule has yet to be determined. The NCAA will announce the tourney field and brackets on Monday, May 4 at 12:00 p.m. UMass Dartmouth, the second seed, finishes as the conference's runners-up and concludes its season with a 7-8 record.
Gagne rolled up the Huskies' 2015 title with a strong 6-3, 6-2 win over Corsairs Ray Lawton in the second singles flight. Gagne was able to secure the Huskies' victory as USM held a commanding 3-0 edge after the doubles points had played out.
Gagne and teammate junior Tyler Adams (Buxton, Maine/Bonny Eagle) scored USM's first points of the match with an 8-2 win over UMD junior Dan Chouinard (Westport, Mass./Westport) and sophomore Corey Rafter (Franklin, Mass.). The Huskies led 2-0 following an 8-2 win at second doubles by sophomore Kyle Curley (Gorham, Maine) and senior Thaddeus St. John (Weld, Maine/Mt. Blue). In a dramatic third doubles match, Southern Maine came away with the critical third point as juniors Eric Berry-Sandelin (South Portland, Maine) and Sebastian Taylor (Auburn, Maine/Edward Little) battled for an 9-8 (3) win.
Berry-Sandelin and Taylor trailed the UMass Dartmouth tandem of senior Malcolm Neville (Foxboro, Mass.) and junior Andrew Burdick (Dartmouth, Mass.) 6-7 and faced match point, but rallied to go up 8-7 on the Corsairs. However, Neville and Burdick were able to force the tie-breaker, but the Huskies were able to secure the win getting out to a 4-1 advantage in the tie-breaker to win 9-8 (3).
Ahead 3-0, Curley snagged USM's fourth point of the match with a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles against the Corsairs' Rafter before Gagne pushed the Huskies' to the title.
Earning the 2015 Little East Conference Tournament Championship, Southern Maine earned the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament. Southern Maine has previously won the LEC title and gained a berth into the NCAAs in 2007 and 2014. In the 2007 NCAA tournament, the Huskies' recorded its first ever NCAA win defeating Ithaca College 5-4 to advance to the second round before falling to Middlebury College 5-0.