NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The top-seeded Merrimack men's tennis team won their second straight Northeast-10 Conference Tournament title on Sunday afternoon at North Andover High School as the Warriors defeated #3 Southern New Hampshire by the score of 5-1.
Merrimack earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with the championship win. The Warriors will be making their sixth-straight and sixth-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament when the NCAA Tournament Selection Show airs April 23 at 8:30 p.m. on www.ncaa.com.
"I could not be prouder of the way our team has fought for every match we have played this season," said head coach Sean Tully. "We had great focus today and accomplished what we set out to do from the very first day of practice. We plan on using this momentum to carry us through the region in the NCAA Tournament."
The hosts owned a 2-1 lead at the start of singles play after capturing two doubles victories on the day. Vince Bellino (Amesbury, MA) and Chris Barnhart (Longmeadow, MA) picked up an 8-3 win at the No. 2 position. Merrimack's no. 3 pairing of Petar Golijanin (Novi Sad, Serbia) and Miguel Belfort (Caracas, Venezuela) posted a 9-7 victory.
The Warriors prevailed in three singles matches to seal their second straight Northeast-10 Tournament Title. Merrimack has appeared in the finals in each of the past four seasons.
Barnhart earned a 6-0, 6-0 win at the fourth singles slot. Bellino notched a 6-2, 6-1 victory at the No. 5 spot while Golijanin clinched the match as he prevailed 6-2, 6-0 at the No. 6 singles position.
1- Miguel Belfort (MER) vs. Mitch Dobek (SNHU) Did not finish
2- Matt Pronesti (MER) vs. Juan Arango (SNHU) Did not finish
3- Matt Lipinski (MER) vs. Michael Wallace (SNHU) Did not finish
4- Chris Barnhart (MER) def. Alex Mukdaprakorn (SNHU) 6-0, 6-0
5- Vince Bellino (MER) def. Brad Malenich (SNHU) 6-2, 6-1
6- Petar Golijanin (MER) def. Evan Eaton (SNHU) 6-2, 6-0
1- Dobek/Wallace (SNHU) def. Lipinski/Pronesti (MER) 8-3
2- Barnhart/Bellino (MER) def. Arango/Eaton (SNHU) 8-3
3- Golijanin/Belfort (MER) def. Mukdaprakorn/Hamilton (SNHU) 9-7