BALTIMORE, Md. – The Goucher College men's tennis team, the four-time defending Landmark Conference men's tennis champions, has been tabbed the unanimous preseason favorite as the team drives for its fifth championship ring in a row.
The Gophers received seven first-place votes from the other schools in the conference and since a coach cannot vote for its own team are the unanimous preseason favorite with 70 points. Drew University and Juniata College finished tied for second with 44 points while the University of Scranton placed fourth in the poll with 42 points. Drew won the first six titles in Landmark Conference history while Juniata played Goucher in the conference final from 2015-17 and Scranton was the Gophers opponent in the last two league title bouts.
Catholic University of America (28 points), Susquehanna University (22 points), Moravian College (14 points) and Elizabethtown College (8 points) round out the eight-team poll.
Goucher returns every member from the championship lineup with the exception of Elliot Diehl, who graduated in 2019. Junior Tetsuya Ota (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Saddlebrook Prep), a two-time all-conference first-team selection, was named the Landmark Conference Player of the Year last season after garnering Rookie of the Year honors in his freshman campaign. The junior is 11-1 in conference action and he was won his last 10 matches.
Slade Dumas (Great Falls, Va./Dominion), who was selected to the all-conference second team in singles and doubles, is 21-1 in the circuit including a 19-match winning streak. Michael Herman (Prague, Czech Republic/Gymnazium Nova) is 11-4 in conference matches while Frankie Mullinix (Washington, D.C./The George School), who won the clinching match in the championship match against Scranton last season, is 11-3 in conference matches.
Brian Kane (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends Select) went 7-0 in singles last season while Omosesan Adebamgbe (Philadelphia, Pa./Lower Merion) was 1-1 in singles play, but 15-2 in double play with Dumas including 6-0 in the conference.
Goucher played in a pair of tournaments in the fall where Ota was named Landmark Conference Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week for the fifth time in his career while Kane also took home the honor.
The Gophers are scheduled to open up their second half of the season at Salisbury University on February 22, starting with a match against Virginia Wesleyan University. Match time is 6 p.m. Goucher is scheduled to make its home debut and play the inaugural match on the Evelyn Dyke Schoedl '62 Tennis Center on March 25 against Washington College at 3:30 p.m.