Women’s Tennis Opens Season at ITA Regional Tournament

PHILADELPHIA - The Merrimack women's tennis team kicked off the 2011-12 season at the ITA Regional Tournament held at the Arthur Ashe Jr. Youth Tennis Center hosted by Chestnut Hill College over the weekend.

The Warriors boasted nine entrants in the three-day event which featured competitors from schools all over the Northeast region.

In the singles A draw, Kara Hole (Portsmouth, RI) and Shakee Messina (Caracas, Venezuela) represented Merrimack. Messina prevailed in her first collegiate match, defeating Andrea Salvetova of Queens (NY) 6-3, 6-0 in the first round. The rookie was eliminated in the second round despite battling back from dropping the first set. Messina lost to 11th-seeded Stephanie Puentes of Goldey-Beacom 3-6, 5-7, 3-10.

Hole exited in the first round with a loss to Taylor Barber from Queens (NY) 6-0, 6-0.

Alyx Barnes (Portsmouth, NH), Courtney Garvey (Woburn, MA), Mollie Fitzgerald (Melrose, MA) and Kylie Waddington (South Glastonbury, CT) all competed in the singles B draw.

Barnes defeated Holy Family's Katie Cook before bowing to Chestnut Hill's Danielle Knott 8-4 in the second round. Fitzgerald topped Nikki Gloria from Molloy 8-2 and fell to Rachel Litton of Bentley 8-1. Waddington dropped her first round match to Chestnut Hill's Lexis Puhl 8-2.

Garvey advanced the furthest in the bracket for the Warriors, reaching the third round. She claimed wins over Steph Reinke of Philadelphia and Katie Van Gilst before falling to Sofia Lema of the University of District of Columbia.

Merrimack's lone tandem in the doubles A draw, Messina and Garvey, suffered an 8-3 loss in the first round to a pair from Holy Family.

The Warriors sent two pairs into the doubles B draw as Barnes teamed up with Waddington and Fitzgerald partnered with Hole.

Barnes and Waddington captured an 8-2 victory in the first round over a pair from Chestnut Hill. The duo lost in the second round to a team from NYIT, 8-2.

Fitzgerald and Hole picked up two wins en route to the third round. The twosome earned victories over pairs from Holy Family and CW Post. Fitzgerald and Hole were ousted from the tournament with an 8-3 loss in the third round.

"We competed well this weekend with some of the best talent in the Northeast," said first-year head coach Sean Tully. "This is a great way to start the season and we are looking forward to starting team play next weekend."

Merrimack's first dual match of the year is slated for September 25 as it travels to Assumption for a Northeast-10 Conference match.