Firebirds Fourth in Preseason Poll

Head Coach Dickie Mahaffey's men's tennis team are projected to finish fourth in the conference.
Head Coach Dickie Mahaffey's men's tennis team are projected to finish fourth in the conference.

West Babylon, N.Y. – NYIT and Queens College's men's tennis teams will enter the season as co-favorites after tying for the top spot in the league's preseason coaches' poll. In addition, NYIT junior, Francisco Caldas (Braga, Portugal), has been voted the conference's Preseason Player of the Year.

 

NYIT and Queens, who have combined to win the past nine ECC Championships and have met in the final of the ECC Championship in each of the past five season, both earned three first place votes and 33 points to top the poll. St. Thomas Aquinas College came in third place with 20 points, while University of the District of Columbia rounds out the expected playoff teams with 20 points and a fourth place finish.

 

Queens won its second straight ECC Championship in 2018 and also earned a 17th straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Championship. The Knights also advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 for the second straight season and finished with a No. 49 ranking in the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Poll. The Knights have reason for optimism with seven returnees from last year's squad including All-Conference honorees Cosme Jubera and Richard Sec, as well as the reigning ECC Rookie of the Year, Hugo Evangelista de Andrade.

 

NYIT shares the top spots with Queens after winning their fourth ECC Regular Season Championship in five years in 2018. The Bears continued a long string of consecutive NCAA Championship appearances as well, making the field for a seventh straight season. NYIT has five members of last year's squad returning, including Caldas.

 

The Preseason Player of the Year honor goes to Caldas after he was an All-Conference First Team selection a year ago. Currently the No. 10 ranked singles player in the East Region by the ITA, Caldas recorded a 14-2 singles record in 2018, mostly at the No. 2 flight. Caldas was even better during conference play, finishing with a perfect 5-0 record.

 

2019 ECC Men's Tennis Preseason Poll

School                          Pts.   Last Year's Record

T1. NYIT (3)                  33    12-3 (5-0 ECC)

T1. Queens (3)              33    20-6 (4-1 ECC)

3. St. Thomas Aquinas   20    11-7 (2-3 ECC)

4. Dist. Columbia           18    7-7 (3-2 ECC)

5. Roberts Wesleyan      15    5-15 (0-5 ECC)

6. Daemen                     7    7-17 (1-4 ECC)

 

( ) – first place votes

 

Preseason Player of the Year: Francisco Caldas, Jr., NYIT

 

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About the ECC

 

Founded as the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1989 and rechristened the East Coast Conference in July 2006, the ECC was formed to enhance intercollegiate athletic competition among member institutions and to assist them in integrating athletics into their academic program in a fiscally sound way. The ECC is committed to the highest standards of scholarship, sportsmanship, teamwork, and citizenship. Its mission is to promote the total person concept in its student-athletes, which stresses the abilities to excel in academic achievement, athletic competition, and positive character traits. East Coast Conference members include: University of Bridgeport (Bridgeport, Conn.); University of the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.); Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y.); LIU Post (Brookville, N.Y.); Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.); Molloy College (Rockville Centre, N.Y.); New York Institute of Technology (Old Westbury, N.Y.); Queens College (Flushing, N.Y.); Roberts Wesleyan College (Rochester, N.Y.) and St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.). Associate Members include: Adelphi University (Garden City, N.Y.); Bloomfield College (Bloomfield, N.J.); Caldwell University (Caldwell, N.J.); Chestnut Hill College (Philadelphia, Pa.); Felician University (Rutherford, N.J.), Georgian Court University (Lakewood, N.J.), Holy Family University (Philadelphia, Pa.), Kutztown University (Kutztown, Pa.), Lincoln University (Lincoln University, Pa.), Lincoln Memorial University (Harrogate, Tenn.), Post University (Waterbury, Conn.), Southern New Hampshire University (Manchester, N.H.), and Wilmington University (New Castle, Del.).


The ECC sponsors the following championship sports: baseball; men's and women's basketball; women's bowling; men's and women's cross country; eSports (League of Legends); men's and women's lacrosse; softball; men's and women's tennis; men's and women's indoor track and field; men's and women's outdoor track and field; men's and women's soccer; and women's volleyball.

 

The East Coast Conference is a proud member of the NCAA and Division II. Division II is a dynamic and engaging group of colleges, institutions and conferences of varying sizes and educational missions. Division II members encourage and support diversity; value sportsmanship, fairness and equity; and place the highest priority on the overall educational excellence of the student-athlete.