NORTH EASTON, MA – With an 8-1 win at Stonehill, the Merrimack men's tennis team claimed its third-consecutive Northeast-10 Conference Regular Season title Saturday afternoon. The Warriors rise to 11-4 on the year and 9-0 in league matches. The Skyhawks fall to 15-8 overall and 6-3 in the Northeast-10 with the loss.
"I could not be more proud of this group of guys," said head coach Sean Tully. "They have grown a lot this season and winning our third straight NE-10 crown is a huge accomplishment. The program is heading in the right direction and I cannot wait to see what the rest of this season brings us."
The Warriors earned the no. 1 seed for the northeast-10 Conference Tournament and will have a first-round bye.
The Warriors dominated doubles action on Saturday, taking the 3-0. The top pairing of Matt Pronesti (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and Matt Lipinski (Arlington, Mass.) posted a 8-4 victory while in no. 2 doubles action, Chris Barnhart (Longmeadow, Mass.) and Vince Bellino (Amesbury, Mass.) downed their opponents 8-5. Merrimack's third pairing of Miguel Belfort (Caracas, Venezuela) and Petar Golijanin (Novi Sad, Serbia) had to battle for their 9-7 victory.
The Warriors put their opponents away in singles action, picking up five of a possible six points. Pronesti prevailed 6-2, 6-2 at the no. 2 slot while Belfort won a three-set thriller at the no. 1 spot. Belfort claimed the first 6-3 before falling 3-6 in the second and capturing the third with a 6-1 result.
Barnhart also earned a three-set victory at the no. 3 position. He won the first set 7-6, lost the second 5-7 and prevailed 6-2 in the third and decisive set. Bellino dominated in the no. 4 slot as he earned the 6-1, 6-4 victory while Mark Mallory (Portland, OR) earned the three-set victory by the score of 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).
Merrimack will cap off their regular season with two non conference matches as they will play Hartford on Sunday and Bryant on Monday.
1. Miguel Belfort (MER) def. Eric Ringstad (STO) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
2. Matt Pronesti (MER) def. Nick Hyzak (STO) 6-2, 6-2
3. Chris Barnhart (MER) def. Thomas Alaimo (STO) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
4. Vince Bellino (MER) def. Philip Klados (STO) 6-1, 6-4
5. Chris Martin (STO) def. Peter Golijanin (MER) 6-4, 6-2
6. Mark Mallory (MER) def. Brett Armstrong (STO) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
1. Pronesti/Lipinski (MER) def. Ringstad/Martin (STO) 8-4
2. Barnhart/Bellino (MER) def. Hyzak/Alaimo (STO) 8-5
3. Belfort/Golijanin (MER) def. Klados/Armstrong (STO) 9-7