WEYMOUTH, Mass. – In a back-and-forth match that could have gone either way, men's tennis prevailed in the end as they earned their earned a 5-2 win over the second-seed UMass Dartmouth to win the 2017 Little East Conference Championship Saturday afternoon at the Weymouth Club.
UMass Boston 5, UMass Dartmouth 2
UMass Boston (10-7)
UMass Dartmouth (8-11)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After earning a pair of 8-2 victories at first and third doubles, the Beacons saw the team of Tin Tran (Quincy, Mass.) and Onkgopotse Mokoka (Pretoria, South Africa) play a hard-fought match at second doubles. They battled for each point against the Corsairs Anthony Joseph and Justin Torres. Trailing for most of the match, Tran and Mokoka battled back to force the tie-breaker. UMD would pullout the tie-breaker win with a 9-8 (7-4) decision to cut the Beacons lead to one as they headed into singles play.
UMB controlled most of the momentum in singles play as they earned wins at first, second and third. Shanshrut Sharma (Mumbai, India) made it a 3-1 match after his commanding 6-2, 6-1 victory at the fifth flight. Right after that, UMD's Torres made it a one-point match for the second time after he earned a 6-2, 6-1 victory at fourth singles.
However, the Beacons would collect the two points they needed thanks to Austin DeLasse (Mexico City, Mexico) and Josh Bhasin (Tulsa, Okla.). After a hard fought 6-4 win in the first set, DeLasse caught his second wind in the second to earn an impressive 6-1 win.
With the score now 4-2, all eyes turned to the Beacons second and sixth singles player. After falling 6-3 in the first set, Ray Platteel (Holbrook, Mass.) bounced back in a big way in the second set with a 6-2 victory. Platteel would not finish his match but was leading 5-0 as UMB closed out their championship win.
For Bhasin he had to earn every point over Joseph who really gave everything he had in Saturday's title match. Bhasin would clinch the victory with a 6-2, 6-2 decision, while on the next court over, Alexander Comerchero (Brookline, Mass.) and Patrick Pacheco were exchanging points frantically.
Saturday's title ensures the Beacons automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, which will be announced on Monday at NCAA.com.
DeLasse, who was solid for the entire tournament, was named the Tournament MVP.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston has now won three-straight over UMass Dartmouth
- Saturday's championship was a rematch of the 2013 title match with UMass Boston also winning that match by the final of 5-4
- The Beacons now have three Little East Conference titles in their history (2017, 2013, 1990)
- UMass Dartmouth has advanced to three LEC Championship matches in the last five seasons, most recently against Southern Maine in 2015. The Corsairs last claimed the league title in 2012.
- UMass Boston earns the conference crown for the first season since 2013. The Beacons previously fell to Southern Maine in the title match last spring.
- The Corsairs total eight wins for the first time since 2013, closing at 8-11 overall and a 4-2 slate in conference play.
- UMass Boston previously dispatched the Corsairs 9-0 during the regular season on April 2.
The Beacons will find out their NCAA Tournament opponent on Monday via press release on NCAA.com.