Senior Tom Alaimo leads the Skyhawks into their 16th NE-10 Tournament on Tuesday. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)
Skyhawks make 16th NE-10 Tournament appearance, seek second title
EASTON, Mass. (April 20, 2015) – Third-seeded Stonehill College, ranked ninth in last week's NCAA Division II East Regional rankings, opens postseason play when it hosts sixth-seeded Le Moyne College for first round action of the 2014 Northeast-10 Conference Men's Tennis Tournament at Charles Watt Tennis Courts on Tuesday at 2 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the match will be played indoors at Weymouth Club, in Weymouth, Massachusetts, at 3 p.m.
Stonehill (14-5, 8-2 NE-10), the only program to compete in all 16 NE-10 Tournaments since moving to the dual match format in 2000, seeks its second championship (2009), having made two championship match appearances (2008 & 2009). Le Moyne (7-10, 5-5 NE-10) is making its ninth NE-10 tournament appearance, but its first since 2012. The winner of Tuesday's first round matchup will advance to Thursday's semifinal round to face second-seeded Adelphi University (9-3, 9-1 NE-10), ranked seventh in the NCAA East Regional rankings, at 2 p.m. The NE-10 Championship will be hosted by the top remaining seed on Saturday at 1 p.m. Live results for tomorrow's first round matchup will be available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com.
Stonehill, under the direction of head coach and Stonehill Athletics Hall of Famer Peter Miller, '75, who has posted a 315-229 (.577) record in his 35 seasons at the helm of his alma mater, is led by a lineup balanced with youth and experience. The Skyhawks enter the postseason winners of seven of their last eight and will face a first round opponent in Le Moyne it just defeated 9-0 in the regular season finale for both at Watt Courts on Saturday.
Freshman Thomas Bellio will line up at No. 1 singles and doubles for the NE-10 Tournament this week. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)
Seniors Tom Alaimo (North Andover, Massachusetts/Central Catholic), Jonathan Sanders (Holbrook, New York/Saint Anthony's) and Jared Drzal (West Sayville, New York/Sayville) provide the leadership for Stonehill, having participated in the NE-10 Tournament all four years. Alaimo competes at No. 2 singles and doubles for the Skyhawks and is a combined 22-17 in singles and doubles play during his final collegiate season, having posted an 11-8 singles record, including 5-3 in NE-10 matches, with a 9-3 mark at No. 2. He is 11-9 overall in doubles play, including a 7-7 mark with Sanders, his current playing partner, with a 4-3 record in NE-10 matches. Sanders is a combined 22-12, posting a 9-4 singles record which includes a 5-2 mark in the NE-10, to go with a 13-8 overall doubles record.
Alaimo enters the postseason having posted a career overall record of 107-58 (.649) in singles and doubles play over his four year career. He has also posted a 40-24 (.625) overall record in NE-10 play.
Drzal, a two-time All-Northeast-10 performer, will compete at No. 3 singles and doubles for Stonehill. He is 24-18 overall in singles and doubles play during his senior season, posting a 10-9 singles mark and a 14-7 combined doubles record, including 10-6 with his current partner, freshman Tom Buckley (Hebron, Connecticut/RHAM). Drzal and Buckley are 7-3 in NE-10 matches this season, while Drzal has split his eight NE-10 singles matches.
While Stonehill's seniors provide invaluable leadership, freshmen Thomas Bellio (Saint Joseph, Michigan/Saint Joseph) and Nikolay Lisichenok (Danvers, Massachusetts/Danvers) have arguably been the catalyst of Stonehill's success this season. The duo have combined to earn seven NE-10 Rookie of the Week honors, with Bellio collecting the weekly honors five times to go with three Player of the Week selections, while Lisichenok has been named Rookie of the Week twice in the league. The Skyhawks No. 1 doubles pair has posted a 13-5 record, including 7-2 in NE-10 play. Bellio is a combined 27-11 in singles and doubles play in his first collegiate season, posting an 11-6 singles mark, including 5-3 in NE-10 play, with an 11-4 record at No. 1 singles. Lisichenok has posted a combined 31-12 record in singles and doubles play this year, recording a 14-6 singles mark, including 7-2 in Conference play, with a 7-2 record at No. 4 singles.
Senior Jared Drzal is a two-time All-Northeast-10 performer for the Skyhawks.
Rounding out Stonehill's lineup on Tuesday will be junior Philip Klados (Lake Forest, California/Santa Margarita Catholic) at No. 6 singles. He has posted a 10-3 singles record this season, including 7-1 in NE-10 play, with a 5-1 mark at No. 6.
Le Moyne, under the direction of third year head coach Mark Dolan, seeks its first NE-10 tournament win in program history on Tuesday, having lost each of its eight tournament matches to date. The Dolphins have dropped their last three dual matches heading into tomorrow's first round, including Saturday's 9-0 loss to Stonehill.
Sophomore James Gayvert (Fairport, New York/Fairport) leads Le Moyne at No. 1 singles and doubles, having posted a combined record of 17-15 this season. He has posted a 10-6 singles record, including 6-3 in NE-10 play, while he and his current doubles partner, sophomore Benjamin Spoor (Ballston Spa, New York/Ballston Spa) are 7-6, splitting their eight NE-10 matches. Spoor has played to a 10-7 singles record, including 6-2 in NE-10 play, having won all seven matches at No. 4.
Alaimo, Sanders, Bellio and Lisichenok were all double-winners for Stonehill in Saturday's win over Le Moyne. Alaimo and Sanders combined for an 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles against sophomore Steven Procopio (Jamesville, New York/Jamesville-DeWitt) and freshman Hallam Doney (Andover, Hampshire). Alaimo also rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Doney at No. 2 singles, while Sanders defeated junior Stephane Legris (Queensbury, New York/Queensbury) at No. 4 singles. Bellio and Lisichenok defeated Gayvert and Spoor 8-5 at No. 1 doubles on Saturday. Bellio also grinded out of 6-4, 7-5 decision over Gayvert at No. 1 singles, while Lisichenok topped Spoor 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3.
2015 Northeast-10 Conference
Men's Tennis Tournament
Tuesday, April 21 (at higher seeds)
#5 Assumption (9-9, 6-4 NE-10) at #4 Bentley (12-7, 7-3 NE-10), 2 p.m.
#6 Le Moyne (7-10, 5-5 NE-10) at #3 Stonehill (14-5, 8-2 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Thursday, April 23 (at higher seeds)
Le Moyne/Stonehill winner at #2 Adelphi (9-3, 9-1 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Assumption/Bentley winner at #1 Merrimack (11-6, 10-0 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 25 (at highest remaining seed)
Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.