Merrimack Defeats Stonehill, 8-1

Senior Chris Martin celebrated Senior Day with his 100th career win, posting a straight sets win at No. 5 singles. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Warriors wrap up NE-10 regular season title in regular season finale

EASTON, Mass. (April 13, 2013) – Merrimack College, ranked fifth in the NCAA Division II East Regional rankings and seventh in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) East Regional rankings, clinched its third-straight Northeast-10 Conference regular season championship outright with an 8-1 victory over Stonehill College, ranked ninth in the NCAA regional rankings and tenth in the ITA regional rankings, in NE-10 men's tennis action at Charles Watt Tennis Courts this afternoon.

Freshmen Miguel Belfort (Caracas, Venezuela) and Matt Pronesti (Mission Viejo, Calif./Advantage Tennis Academy) led the double-winners for Merrimack as it completed an unbeaten run through the NE-10 regular season. Belfort and senior Petar Golijanin (Novi Sad, Serbia) rallied from 7-4 down to claim a 9-7 decision and clinch a Merrimack sweep of the three doubles matches at No. 3. Belfort, ranked 12th in the ITA East Regional singles rankings, won a back and forth 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 battle with Stonehill sophomore Eric Ringstad (Fairbanks, Alaska/Monroe Catholic) at No.1 singles.

Pronesti and freshman Matt Lipinski (Arlington, Mass./Arlington), the region's tenth-ranked doubles team, posted an 8-4 victory at No. 1 doubles before Pronesti, ranked 13th in the ITA East singles rankings, added a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 2 singles over junior Nick Hyzak (Guilford, Conn./Guilford).

Junior Chris Barnhart (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) and sophomore Vince Bellino (Amesbury, Mass./Andover) rounded out the double-winners for Merrimack, starting by teaming up for an 8-5 decision at No. 2 doubles. Barnhart added a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win at No. 3 singles over sophomore Thomas Alaimo (North Andover, Mass./Central Catholic). Bellino contributed a 6-1, 6-4 victory over freshman Philip Klados (Lake Forest, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) at No. 4 singles. Freshman Mark Mallory (Portland, Ore./U.S. Grant) also notched a point for the Warriors with his 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) win over junior Brett Armstrong (Manville, R.I./Mount Saint Charles Academy) at No. 6 singles.

Senior Chris Martin (Darien, Conn./Darien) claimed Stonehill's lone point with his 100th career victory on Senior Day. He posted a 6-4, 6-2 decision over Golijanin at No. 5 singles to improve his combined collegiate record to 100-60 (.625). Martin is 45-29 (.608) over his four years in singles play, including 22-10 (.688) in NE-10 matches, to go with a 55-31 (.640) doubles clip, going 24-12 (.667) in the NE-10.

Stonehill (15-8, 6-3 NE-10) opens postseason play on Wednesday when the fourth-seeded Skyhawks host fifth-seeded Adelphi University for first round action of the NE-10 Tournament at Watt Courts at 2 p.m. Merrimack (11-4, 9-0 NE-10), who has earned a first round bye in the NE-10 Tournament, will host the University of Hartford tomorrow at 10 a.m.

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Merrimack 8, Stonehill 1

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. Petar Golijanin (MER) 6-4, 6-2

6. Mark Mallory (MER) def. Brett Armstrong (STO) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)


1. Pronesti/Matt 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

 * - doubles matches played first
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