NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The second-seeded Merrimack College men's tennis team used a come-from-behind effort from junior Frank Vega (Lima, Peru) and freshman Alex Fedorov (Guilderland, N.Y.) at second doubles on Thursday in the Northeast-10 Conference Semifinals vs. Assumption to take a 2-1 lead entering singles and never looked back, winning by a 5-1 final to advance to the program's seventh NE10 Final in the last nine years.
Score: Merrimack 5, Assumption 1
Records: Merrimack (10-8) | Assumption (6-6)
Location: North Andover High School | North Andover, Mass.
Tuesday, April 18th
Match 1: #6 Assumption 5 at #3 Adelphi 3
Match 2: #4 Bentley 5, #5 Le Moyne 1
Thursday, April 20th
Match 3: #2 Merrimack def. #6 Assumption, 5-1
Match 4: #1 Southern New Hampshire def. #4 Bentley, 5-0
Saturday, April 22nd
Championship at Highest Remaining Seed
Match 5: #2 Merrimack at #1 Southern New Hampshire, 1 p.m.
How It Happened (Doubles)
- No. 1 – Assumption's lone point of the day came at first doubles, besting the pairing of senior Nick Majewski (Brewster, Mass.) and junior Mikhail Belov (Krasnoarmeyskoy, Russia). They Greyhounds won seven of the first nine game, but Merrimack answered with a two-game run to make it a 7-4 score, but the visitors clinched the match by winning the following the game
- No. 2 – Vega and Fedorov endured a back-and-forth match. The duo got off to a strong start, winning four of five games only to see the Greyhounds rebound to take a 7-6 lead. The visitors were within a point of taking the match, but Merrimack's all-league second-team duo recovered to extend the match and forced a tiebreak. Vega and Fedorov were dominant in the breaker, winning all seven points to win, 9-8, and give the Warriors a 2-1 lead entering singles
- No. 3 – Finishing first, senior Tayyab Sheikh (Longmeadow, Mass.) and sophomore Alex Slobin (Fairfield, Conn.) avenged last week's regular-season loss to Assumption's third pair with a convincing 8-1 triumph at the third flight to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead
How It Happened (Singles)
- No. 1 – Vega won his first set, 6-3, only to see his second frame go two games before Merrimack clinched the win
- No. 2 – Belov was within one game of tying his match at one-set apiece when the Warriors won the match
- No. 3 – Majewski clinched Merrimack's trip to the NE10 Final with a thunderous forehand winner at the net. He won his first set handily, 6-1, before battling to a 6-4 win in the second frame
- No. 4 – The recently anointed NE10 Rookie of the Year, Fedorov proved why as he did not drop a game against fellow NE10 All-Rookie Team selection Danny Waung (6-0, 6-0)
- No. 5 – Slobin posted one of his best overall efforts of the season on Thursday, following up his doubles performance with a blistering victory at the fifth flight (6-1, 6-1) to give the Navy and Gold their first singles point of the afternoon
- No. 6 – Sheikh finished his first set on a winning note, 6-3, and had moved within three games of the victory before the day ended
1. Frank Vega (MER-M) vs. Chris Waung (ASM) 6-3, 1-1, unfinished
2. Mikhail Belov (MER-M) vs. Ryan Foster (ASM) 4-6, 5-4, unfinished
3. Nick Majewski (MER-M) def. Marco Leung (ASM) 6-1, 6-4
4. Alex Fedorov (MER-M) def. Danny Waung (ASM) 6-0, 6-0
5. Alex Slobin (MER-M) def. Casey Hodor (ASM) 6-1, 6-1
6. Tayyab Sheikh (MER-M) vs. Tom Knight (ASM) 6-3, 3-2, unfinished
The Warriors advance to the NE10 Final where the Navy and Gold will get a rematch with top-seeded Southern New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Manchester, N.H. The Penmen beat the Warriors, 5-2, in the regular season. Merrimack will aim for its fourth conference title in the last six seasons.