2011 All-Little East Conference Men's Tennis Teams announced

Colonials place five netters on this year's team

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA (June 9) — The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth nearly swept the major awards program this afternoon when the Little East Conference announced its 2011 All-Little East Men’s Tennis teams. Sophomore Karsten Rathlev (Winchester, Mass.) was honored as the Player of the Year, freshman Matt Bejtlich (Rochester, Mass.) was selected as the Rookie of the Year, and Tom Mendell was chosen as the Coach of the Year by his peers. The University of Massachusetts Boston completed the major awards program by earning the Team Sportsmanship Award.

In addition to the major award winners, the conference office honored a 12-member first and second team. The six Little East coaches selected the major award winners through a vote, while the all-conference teams were determined by results throughout the season.

Rathlev is the second Corsair in program history to earn the Little East’s top player award, joining Mason Viau who was honored in 2009. The Winchester, Mass. product is also making his debut on the all-conference, first team. Rathlev set the tone for the UMass Dartmouth lineup, posting a 10-1 record at top-flight singles. He dominated the Little East circuit, winning five of his six conference matches in straight sets. Rathlev overpowered his four opponents between April 11 and April 22, dropping just three games during the stretch. He held his opponents from Becker College and Johnson & Wales scoreless, while dropping just one game against the Beacons. Rathlev also sported a 10-1 mark at top-flight doubles, primarily partnering with junior Brennan Dugas (East Falmouth, Mass.). The duo is making their first appearance on the All-Little East, second team at No. 1 doubles. He was named the conference’s top weekly performer twice on the campaign.  

Bejtlich is also the second Corsair in program history to be voted as the top rookie. The native of Rochester, Mass. boasted an 8-0 overall record in singles, playing primarily out of the No. 4 spot. He is making his first appearance on the All-Little East, first team at No. 4 singles, while receiving second team honors at No. 2 doubles. Bejtlich posted a 6-0 mark against Little East opponents, including winning five of his six conference matches in straight sets. He helped lead UMass Dartmouth to the program’s second Little East Championship in the past three years by defeating his opponent from Western Connecticut at No. 4 singles. In the decisive match of the championship, Bejtlich was pushed to a third set, but responded by winning six of the final seven games for the 6-2, 6-7, 6-1 victory. It was just the third time during his rookie season that Bejtlich was forced to play a third set. He was just as dominating in doubles, sporting an 11-1 record. Bejtlich partnered with sophomore Mike Parker (Scituate, Mass.) for nine out his 11 wins on the season at No. 2 doubles. The combination of Bejtlich and Parker produced UMass Dartmouth’s only victory during its NCAA Tournament match against Roger Williams. He was selected as the conference’s top rookie twice on the year.

Mendell was selected as the top coach by his peers for the second time in the past three years. Under his watchful eye, the Corsairs reached double digits in victories for the 12th time in program history with an 11-1 record, including a 6-0 mark against conference opponents. UMass Dartmouth captured the program’s 10th Little East Championship, defeating the Colonials 5-4. Mendell and his charges made the program’s second appearance in the NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Tournament against the Hawks at Amherst College on May 15. Mendell mentored four student-athletes on the all-conference singles teams as well as two doubles pairings. The Corsairs also placed two student-athletes on the Little East All-Academic Teams. The future is bright for UMass Dartmouth as Mendell will return six of his top seven players back into the fold in 2012.   

2011 LITTLE EAST CONFERENCE MEN'S TENNIS ALL STARS

FIRST TEAM - SINGLES
Flight.. Student-Athlete... Class........... Institution

1....... Karsten Rathlev... Sophomore....... University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
2....... John Phillips..... Senior.......... Western Connecticut State University
3....... Austin Werner..... Junior.......... Western Connecticut State University
4....... Matt Bejtlich..... Freshman........ University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
5....... Brian Bucknam..... Freshman........ Western Connecticut State University

6....... Cody Farrell...... Freshman........ Bridgewater State University

FIRST TEAM - DOUBLES
Flight.. Student-Athlete... Class........... Institution
1....... Troy Pandolifi.... Junior.......... Western Connecticut State University
........ John Phillips..... Senior

2....... Mike Aiello....... Senior.......... Rhode Island College
........ Kyle Kelaghan..... Freshman
3....... Eglis Bizhoti..... Freshman........ Salem State University
........ Shawn Dowen....... Senior

SECOND TEAM - SINGLES
Flight.. Student-Athlete... Class........... Institution
1....... Troy Pandolfi..... Junior.......... Western Connecticut State University
2....... Brennan Dugas..... Junior.......... University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
3....... Mike Parker....... Sophomore....... University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
4....... Kyle Kelaghan..... Freshman........ Rhode Island College
5....... Chris G. Ross..... Sophomore....... University of Southern Maine
6....... Ryan Klem......... Freshman........ Western Connecticut State University

SECOND TEAM - DOUBLES
Flight.. Student-Athlete... Class........... Institution
1....... Brennan Dugas..... Junior.......... University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
........ Karsten Rathlev... Sophomore
2....... Matt Bejtlich..... Freshman........ University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
........ Mike Parker....... Sophomore
3....... Brian Bucknam..... Freshman........ Western Connecticut State University
.........Ryan Klem......... Freshman

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Karsten Rathlev............ UMass Dartmouth

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Matt Bejtlich.............. UMass Dartmouth

COACH OF THE YEAR
Tom Mendell................ UMass Dartmouth

TEAM SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
UMass Boston