NORTH ANDOVER, MA- The Merrimack men's tennis team claimed its second-ever victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 5-0 win over Bentley in the first round Sunday afternoon. The fourth-seeded Warriors improve to 18-7 on the season, setting a new program mark for most wins in a season. The fifth-seeded Falcons finish the year with a 15-7 record overall with the loss.
With the victory, Merrimack advances to play the top-seeded team in the East Regional bracket, #7 Concordia (NY), April 30. The two teams will square off at 10 am at North Andover High School.
"Our team played extremely hard today to earn the win and we are looking forward to tomorrow," said head coach Sean Tully. "Our doubles pairs competed hard and three wins set us up for success heading into singles. We will need to continue our strong play in both doubles and singles tomorrow."
The Warriors posted three wins in doubles action to own a 3-0 lead at the start of singles play. Merrimack's top duo of Max Eppley (Malaga, Spain) and Sean Pahler (Rumson, NJ) earned an 8-3 victory at the No. 1 position. Vince Bellino (Amesbury, MA) and Chris Barnhart (Longmeadow, MA) prevailed 8-3 at the second doubles slot. Petar Golijanin (Novi Sad, Serbia) and Chris Toegemann (Narragansett, RI) captured an 8-6 win at the No. 3 spot.
Bellino extended the hosts' advantage to 4-0 as he prevailed at the No. 4 singles position 6-1, 6-2.
Pahler clinched Merrimack's third-straight win over Bentley with the deciding 6-0, 6-1 victory at the fifth singles spot
The Warriors are competing in their fifth-straight and fifth-ever NCAA Tournament. Merrimack's only other victory in the NCAA Tournament came in the 2008-09 campaign, a 5-4 decision against Adelphi.
1. Eppley/Pahler (MER) def. Tuckman/Ribeiro (BEN) 8-3
2. Bellino/Barnhart (MER) def. Spycher/Tanna (BEN) 8-3
3. Golijanin/Toegemann (MER) def. Waddington/Rindo (BEN) 8-6
1. Barnhart (MER) vs. Tuckman (BEN) unfinished
2. Eppley (MER) vs. Ribeiro (BEN) unfinished
3. Golijanin (MER) vs. Rindo (BEN) unfinished
4. Bellino (MER) def. Spycher (BEN) 6-1, 6-2
5. Pahler (MER) def. Waddington (BEN) 6-0, 6-1
6. Toegemann (MER) vs. Tanna (BEN) unfinished