WOBURN, MA – With a 5-4 win at Bentley, the Merrimack men's tennis team claimed its second-consecutive Northeast-10 Conference Regular Season title Thursday afternoon. The Warriors rise to 14-7 on the year and 10-0 in league matches. The Falcons fall to 13-5 overall and 9-1 in the Northeast-10 with the loss.
Merrimack moves into sole possession of first place in the conference standings with the victory. Bentley and Southern NH are tied for second-place and will face off April 14.
If the Warriors finish off the regular season with a win at Stonehill April 13, Merrimack will earn its first-ever outright Northeast-10 Regular Season crown and head into the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament as the No. 1 seed and receive a first-round bye.
A loss at Stonehill would mean the Warriors share the Northeast-10 Regular Season title with the winner of the Bentley and Southern NH. Merrimack holds the tiebreaker over both teams and would still hold the top seed in the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament.
"This is a great accomplishment for this team of just six players," said head coach Sean Tully. "The players have worked extremely hard all season and their hard work and dedication has paid off."
The Warriors led the Falcons 2-1 at the end of doubles action. Vince Bellino (Amesbury, MA) and Chris Barnhart (Longmeadow, MA) posted a 9-8 victory at the No. 2 position. Petar Golijanin (Novi Sad, Serbia) and Chris Toegemann (Narragansett, RI) picked up an 8-3 win at the third spot. Merrimack's top tandem of Max Eppley (Malaga, Spain) and Sean Pahler (Rumson, NJ) dropped a narrow 9-7 decision.
The two squads split the six singles points as the visitors remained undefeated in the Northeast-10.
Eppley prevailed 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 2 slot while Golijanin won a three-set thriller at the No. 3 spot. Golijanin claimed the first set 6-4 before falling 6-2 in the second and capturing the third with a 6-2 result.
Bellino also earned a three-set victory at the No. 4 position. After taking the first frame 6-4, the rookie was edged 7-6 in set two and rolled to a 6-1 win in the third and decisive set.
Barnhart suffered a 6-4, 6-4 loss at the No. 1 singles slot. Pahler dropped a 6-3, 6-3 decision at the No. 5 position and Toegemann fell 7-6, 6-2 at the sixth spot.
Merrimack will look to cap off the regular season with a perfect 11-0 mark in the league as it visits Stonehill April 13.
1. Tuckman/Ribeiro (BEN) def. Eppley/Pahler (MER) 9-7
2. Bellino/Barnhart (MER) def. Spycher/Tanna (BEN) 9-8
3. Golijanin/Toegemann (MER) def. Waddington/Wever (BEN) 8-3
1. Wever (BEN) def. Barnhart (MER) 6-4, 6-4
2. Eppley (MER) def. Tuckman (BEN) 6-1, 6-1
3. Golijanin (MER) def. Ribeiro (BEN) 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
4. Bellino (MER) def. Rindo (BEN) 6-4, 6-7, 6-1
5. Spycher (BEN) def. Pahler (MER) 6-3, 6-3
6. Waddington (BEN) def. Toegemann (MER) 7-6, 6-2