BOSTON, Mass. – After the most historic regular season in the history of the program, men's tennis is looking to add another page to the amazing 2013 season as they begin their run to claim the first Little East Conference tournament title since 1990. The title would be the first for head coach Eric Berg and first for the program since it began the tournament bracket format just a few short years ago.
With a perfect 6-0 record and the program's first-ever regular season title already in the bag, UMB (12-3) is looking to continue the trend which has seen the Little East regular season champion also hoist the tournament title each of the past three years. The winner of the Little East Conference tournament will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, which if UMB earns the bid it would mark the first time that has happened in school history.
Standing in the Beacons way from earning their first trip to the conference championship match are the fourth-seeded Bears of Bridgewater State University. During the regular season, the Beacons blanked the Bears on their home court to help clinch the regular season title. UMB will face the Bears tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Beren Tennis Center on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This season coach Berg has put together one of the best line-ups in recent memory with three different Beacons closing out the year with undefeated records in singles play. Double competition has also seen some tremendous play and complete dominance as well as UMB ended the year 30-16 overall, 15-3 against Little East Conference competition.
Having another amazing season has been sophomore David Hernandez (Bogota, Colombia) who was one of the three Beacons to end the year with an undefeated record. In singles play, the reigning LEC Rookie of the Year was a perfect 9-0 at second flight. At third flight it has been all senior Alex Loyer (Chelmsford, Mass.) having won all eight of his matches, while at sixth flight Eglis Bizhoti (Dorchester, Mass.) has gone a perfect 6-0. Loyer goes into this year's tournament match carrying a 21-match win streak, while Bizhoti stands as the only player this season to hand Bridgewater's Eric Johnson a loss (13-1).
In doubles play Charles Lai (Boston, Mass.) and Loyer were unbeatable all year long as the duo finished 9-0, 6-0 in conference play at second flight. The duo have won a combined 10 straight doubles decisions as well. Not to be outdone senior, Sean Cullen (Medway, Mass.) and Hernandez were nearly perfect at the always tough first flight as the duo grinded out a very impressive 8-1 record overall.
If the Beacons are victorious they will play in the championship match on Saturday at a site to be determined and will face the winner of the UMass Dartmouth/Southern Maine match. A win tomorrow will also tie the program record for most consecutive victories with 11 which was set in 1988-89 season.