Stonehill Visits Top-Seeded Merrimack for NE-10 Semifinal

Senior Aaron Bergeron looks to lead the Skyhawks into the NE-10 championship match for the second time in his career.

Fourth-seeded Skyhawks seek third NE-10 Championship appearance

EASTON, Mass. (April 18, 2012) – Fourth-seeded Stonehill College, ranked eighth in the most recent NCAA Division II East Regional rankings, seeks its third Northeast-10 Conference Tournament Championship appearance as it visits top-seeded and NE-10 regular season champions Merrimack College for semifinal round action of the NE-10 Tournament on Thursday at North Andover High School at 2 p.m.

Stonehill (15-4, 8-3 NE-10) advanced with a hard fought 5-4 victory over fifth-seeded Adelphi University in Tuesday's first round. Merrimack (15-7, 11-0 NE-10) received a first round bye along with second-seeded and defending tournament champions Bentley University (14-5, 10-1 NE-10) who will host third-seeded Southern New Hampshire University in tomorrow's other semifinal at 2 p.m. Tomorrow's semifinal winners will meet for the NE-10 Championship on Saturday at the site of the higher remaining seed at 1 p.m.

Sophomore Brett Armstrong (Manville, R.I./Mount Saint Charles Academy) and freshman Thomas Alaimo (North Andover, Mass./Central Catholic) led Stonehill past Adelphi as double-winners on Tuesday. The duo combined for an 8-5 victory at No. 3 doubles to claim the Skyhawks lone point in doubles play as they trailed 2-1 heading into the singles matches. Alaimo keyed the Stonehill rally with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph at No. 4 singles, while Armstrong clinched the win with a back and forth 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory at No. 6.

Stonehill, making its NE-10 record 13th Tournament appearance, seeks its third championship match visit with a win on Thursday. Both appearances have come in the last four years, with the Skyhawks capturing its lone tournament championship in 2009 after a runner-up finish in 2008. Merrimack is making its ninth appearance in the NE-10 Tournament, having claimed a second-straight regular season championship. The Warriors seek their first tournament title, having reached the championship twice in program history, with both coming in the last three years in 2009 and 2010.

Freshman Eric Ringstad will look to repeat his win at No. 1 singles against Merrimack as well as add a doubles victory.

Freshman Eric Ringstad (Fairbanks, Alaska/Monroe Catholic) has made a huge impact for Stonehill in his first collegiate season, posting a combined 34-13 record in singles and doubles play so far this year. He is 18-6 overall in singles matches, including a 9-2 mark in NE-10 play, while going 15-4 at No. 1. Ringstad and sophomore Nick Hyzak (Guilford, Conn./Guilford) have teamed up to post a 14-6 doubles record, going 7-2 in the NE-10, with a 10-4 mark at No. 2.

Alaimo has also made an immediate contribution for the Skyhawks, posting a combined 31-12 mark for singles and doubles. He is 17-6 in singles play, including an 8-3 clip in the NE-10, while posting a 13-5 doubles record with Armstrong, going 10-4 at No. 3.

Senior Aaron Bergeron (Gorham, Maine/Gorham) is 56-16 (.778) in singles play over his career, including a 31-5 (.861) clip in NE-10 matches. He is also a combined 45-24 (.652) in doubles play, including a 26-9 (.743) mark in NE-10 matches. This season Bergeron is 16-7 overall in singles, including a 7-3 clip against NE-10 members, to go with a 14-7 doubles record, including an 8-7 mark with junior Chris Martin (Darien, Conn./Darien). The duo is 8-6 at No. 1 and 5-2 in NE-10 matches.

Sophomore Chris Barnhart (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) is the top player for Merrimack, posting an 11-8 singles record, including an 8-2 clip at No. 1. Junior Chris Toegemann (Narragansett, R.I./Bishop Hendricken), the younger brother of Stonehill women's tennis standout Amy Toegemann, is 15-8 this season, including a 12-4 clip at No. 6. Senior Max Eppley (Malaga, Spain) is 12-10 overall, including a 9-2 mark at No. 2.

Eppley and senior Sean Pahler (Rumson, N.J./Fair Haven) have teamed up to post a 13-5 mark at No. 1 doubles. Toegemann and junior Petar Golijanin (Novi Sad, Serbia) have combined to record a 17-7 doubles clip, including a 12-3 mark at No. 3.

These two teams closed out the regular season against each other just six days ago, with Merrimack posting an 8-1 victory at Charles Watt Tennis Courts in Easton. Eppley led five double winners for the Warriors in their fourth straight win. He teamed up with Pahler for an 8-2 victory No. 1 doubles as the Warriors swept the three doubles matches. He followed that up with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Hyzak in No. 2 singles. Pahler was also a double-winner for the Warriors, adding a 7-6 (7-0), 6-4 decision over Bergeron at No. 5. Ringstad picked up a point for Stonehill as he rallied for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-0 triumph over Barnhart at No. 1 singles.

2012 Northeast-10 Conference
Men's Tennis Championship

First Round
Tuesday, April 17 (at higher seeds)
#3 Southern New Hampshire 5, #6 Le Moyne 0
#4 Stonehill 5, #5 Adelphi 4 

Thursday, April 19 (at higher seeds)
#3 Southern New Hampshire (11-8, 9-2 NE-10) at #2 Bentley (14-5, 10-1 NE-10), 2 p.m.
#4 Stonehill (154-4, 8-3 NE-10) at #1 Merrimack (15-7, 11-0 NE-10), 2 p.m.

Saturday, April 21 (at highest remaining seed)
Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.