EASTON, MA- After clinching a share of its second-straight Northeast-10 Conference Regular Season title Thursday, the Merrimack men's tennis team downed Stonehill 8-1 to cap off the regular season unbeaten in league play and earn its first-ever outright Northeast-10 crown Friday. The Warriors elevate to 15-7 on the year and 11-0 in the Northeast-10 with the win. The Skyhawks flutter to 14-4 overall and 8-3 in conference matches.
"We played extremely well to cap off the season undefeated in the conference," said first-year head coach Sean Tully. "I am very proud of these six players and all of their hard work this season. We will work hard to prepare for the playoffs as we strive to reach another team goal."
Merrimack will hold the No. 1 seed heading into the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament. The Warriors will receive a first-round bye and will face the winner of the No. 4 seed and No. 5 seed in the semifinals April 19.
The visitors claimed all three doubles points to lead 3-0 at the start of singles play.
Max Eppley (Malaga, Spain) and Sean Pahler (Rumson, NJ) rolled to an 8-2 win at the top doubles spot. Vince Bellino (Amesbury, MA) and Chris Barnhart (Longmeadow, MA) secured an 8-3 victory at the No. 2 position. Petar Golijanin (Novi Sad, Serbia) and Chris Toegemann (Narragansett, RI) picked up an 8-3 win at the No. 3 slot.
Merrimack posted five singles victories in the match to seal its fourth-straight win.
Eppley captured a 6-4, 7-5 victory at the No. 2 spot. Pahler coasted to a 7-0 win in a first-set tiebreaker to claim a 7-6 decision before taking the second frame 6-4 at the No. 5 position. Toegemann triumphed 6-3, 7-5 at the sixth slot.
Golijanin prevailed in a three-set match at the No. 3 match. The junior won the first set 6-1 before dropping set two 6-3. Golijanin breezed to a 6-0 victory in the deciding third set.
Bellino picked up a win at the fourth slot in a three-set thriller. The rookie posted a 6-2 victory in set one and suffered a 6-4 loss in the second frame. Bellino bounced back to edge Stonehill's Tom Alaimo 15-13 in a third-set super-tiebreaker.
Merrimack will be making its ninth trip to the Northeast-10 Tournament and fifth appearance in the semifinals. The Warriors fell to Bentley 5-4 in the semifinals last spring.
1. Eppley/Pahler (MER) def. Bergeron/Martin (STO) 8-2
2. Bellino/Barnhart (MER) def. Hyzak/Ringstad (STO) 8-3
3. Golijanin/Toegemann (MER) def. Alaimo/Armstrong (STO) 8-3
1. Ringstad (STO) def. Barnhart (MER) 6-3, 1-6, 6-0
2. Eppley (MER) def. Hyzak (STO) 6-4, 7-5
3. Golijanin (MER) def. Martin (STO) 6-1, 3-6, 6-0
4. Bellino (MER) def. Alaimo (STO) 6-2, 4-6, 15-13
5. Pahler (MER) def. Bergeron (STO) 7-6 (0), 6-4
6. Toegemann (MER) def. Armstrong (STO) 6-3, 7-5