Defending NE-10 champions return bulk of last year's NCAA Tournament team
EASTON, Mass. (August 26, 2015) – The defending Northeast-10 Conference tournament champion Stonehill College women's tennis team has been tabbed as the favorites atop a tightly bunched preseason coaches' poll the league announced today.
Stonehill, which won its fifth Northeast-10 tournament championship last fall, tops the preseason poll with 130 points and five of the 13 first place votes, edging reigning regular season Conference champions Adelphi University (129 points), who also collected five first place votes, by a single point. Merrimack College (122 points) is picked third and received two first place votes, with Southern New Hampshire University (114) fourth and Bentley University (94) rounding out the top five and claiming the final first place vote. Assumption College (85) is picked sixth, Le Moyne College (77) seventh and Saint Michael's College (74) eighth to round out the predicted NE-10 Tournament spots.
Stonehill returns four of its top six student-athletes from its 2014-15 squad which finished with a 13-8 record overall, including a 10-2 mark in the NE-10, to earn its ninth NCAA Division II Tournament bid by way of the Conference's automatic bid after winning its fifth NE-10 Tournament championship in the fall. The Skyhawks defeated Merrimack 5-3 at Charles Watt Tennis Courts in the title match last October. Head Coach Marc Maloney, in his second year in charge at Stonehill, returns nine letterwinners, including four of six singles players who competed in the NE-10 championship match.
Senior captains Bailey Paradiso (Birmingham, Michigan/Marian) and Analise Kump (Falmouth, Maine/Falmouth) lead the list of returnees for Stonehill this fall. Paradiso posted a combined 18-16 record at No. 1 singles and doubles for the Skyhawks last fall before spending the spring semester studying abroad. Kump, who was the NE-10 Tournament MVP last fall and a second team All-NE-10 doubles performer, was a combined 19-12 mainly at No. 2 singles and doubles. Sophomores Victoria Barbetta (Wesley Chapel, Florida/Saddlebrook Prep) and Emma Prinos (Foxboro, Massachusetts/Foxboro) are also returning members of the Skyhawks fall lineup last fall, while senior Kirsti Toegemann (Narragansett, Rhode Island/The Lincoln School) is a former regionally-ranked singles performer for the Skyhawks who looks to return to form after injury last season.
Stonehill, ranked sixth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division II East Regional rankings, opens its 2015 fall season on Sunday, September 6, with a non-conference match at Post University at 3 p.m. The Skyhawks open their NE-10 schedule with its first home match on Wednesday, September 9, with a huge early season test with Southern New Hampshire University at Charles Watt Tennis Courts at 3 p.m.