Sophomore Thomas Bellio leads the Skyhawks into the NE-10 Tournament at No. 1 singles and doubles.
Skyhawks and Panthers meet for second time in four days
Stonehill (9-9, 5-5 NE-10), the lone program to appear in all 17 NE-10 Tournaments since the Conference adopted the current dual match format in 2000, has won one championship in 2009 and reached the final twice overall. Adelphi (9-7, 8-2 NE-10) is making its seventh straight NE-10 Tournament appearance since joining the Conference prior to the 2009-10 season and seeks its first championship after advancing to the finals for the first time last spring. The winner of Tuesday's first round matchup will advance to Friday's semifinal round to face second-seeded Merrimack College (10-8, 9-1 NE-10), ranked sixth in the NCAA and ITA East Region rankings, at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, at 10:30 a.m. The NE-10 Championship will be hosted by the highest remaining seed on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Stonehill, under the direction of Hall of Fame head coach Peter Miller, '75, who has posted a 325-239 (.576) record in his 36 seasons at the helm of his alma mater, finished in a three way tie for fifth in the NE-10 standings with Le Moyne College (8-11, 5-5 NE-10) and Assumption College (6-8, 5-5 NE-10). The Skyhawks received the No. 6 seed by way of the NE-10's tiebreaker in which match scores between the three were compared, giving Le Moyne the No. 5 seed and then Stonehill receiving the final spot by way of its head to head win over Assumption.
Captain Gerard Tierney is the Skyhawks lone senior, competing at No. 6 singles.
Stonehill, whose lineup contains just one senior, is led by a core of four sophomores including classmates Thomas Bellio (Saint Joseph, Michigan/Saint Joseph) and Nikolay Lisichenok (Danvers, Massachusetts/Danvers) at the top of the ladder. Bellio, a three-time NE-10 Player of the Week this season, is a combined 26-17 while competing at No. 1 singles and doubles. He has posted a 10-9 singles mark, including 5-4 in NE-10 play, to go with a 16-8 doubles record with two different playing partners, with a 5-4 league mark. He and Lisichenok are 5-2 as a doubles tandem, including 4-2 in the NE-10 this season after the duo combined to earn second team All-Northeast-10 honors at No. 1 doubles as freshmen.
Sophomores Tom Buckley (Hebron, Connecticut/RHAM), a two-time NE-10 Player of the Week, and Jeffrey Gagnon (Providence, Rhode Island/The Wheeler School) have provided stability in the middle of the Stonehill lineup. Buckley is a combined 25-23 in singles and doubles play, posting a 14-12 doubles record with four different playing partners, while Gagnon is 12-8 in singles play, including 6-4 in NE-10 matches. Junior Joan Castillo (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic/St. Joseph School) and senior captain Gerard Tierney (Marshfield, Massachusetts/Marshfield) round out the Skyhawks singles lineup. Castillo has split his ten NE-10 matches, while Tierney is 5-4 at No. 6 singles in NE-10 play.
Freshmen Michael Doody (Franklin, Massachusetts/Mount Saint Charles Academy) and Dimitri Vlassov (Marblehead, Massachusetts/Marblehead) round out Stonehill's doubles lineup with a 6-6 record overall at No. 3, including 3-3 in the NE-10.
Sophomore Tom Buckley has solidified the middle of the Skyhawks lineup.
Adelphi enters the postseason winners of three straight matches. Sophomore Matteo Cannavera (Quartu Sant' Elena, Italy), the 13th-ranked singles player in the East Region by the ITA, lead the way for the Panthers. He is a combined 12-4 in singles and doubles play this season, posting a 5-3 singles record, winning all four NE-10 matches, to go with a 7-1 doubles record, including 4-0 in NE-10 play, posting a 6-1 record with senior Uladzislau Litvinchuk (Brest, Belarus) at No. 1. Litvinchuk is a combined 17-13 in singles and doubles play, including an 8-7 singles mark, going 6-3 in Conference matches. Senior Sander Brenner (Port Washington, New York/Paul D. Schreiber) competes at No. 3 singles and is 9-6 overall, with an 8-1 league record.
Tomorrow marks the sixth-straight year Stonehill and Adelphi have met in the first round of the NE-10 Tournament, the fourth straight at Adelphi after two-straight years at Charles Watt Courts on the Stonehill campus. The Panthers have won the last three postseason matchups, including a 5-1 decision last spring, after Stonehill was victorious in 2011 and 2012. Tomorrow marks the second meeting between the two in four days as Adelphi capped the regular season with a 7-2 victory inside the Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex in Easton on Saturday.
Litvinchuk and Cannavera were both double-winners to lead Adelphi on Saturday as the Panthers erased a 2-1 deficit following doubles play by sweeping the six singles matches. The duo earned the Panthers' lone doubles point with their 8-5 victory at No. 1. Cannavera followed that up by battling past Bellio 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 at No. 1 singles, while Litvinchuk registered a 6-2, 6-0 decision at No. 2 singles against Lisichenok. Castillo and Lisichenok as well as Doody and Vlassov both notched 9-8 (7-5) decisions at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, respectively.
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2016 Northeast-10 Conference
Men's Tennis Championship
First RoundWednesday, April 27 (at higher seeds)
Match 1: #6 Stonehill (9-9, 5-5 NE-10) at #3 Adelphi (9-5, 8-2 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Match 2: #5 Le Moyne (8-11, 5-5 NE-10) at #4 Bentley (15-6, 7-3 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Friday, April 29 (at higher seeds)
Match 3: Winner of Match 1 at #2 Merrimack (10-8, 9-1 NE-10), 10:30 a.m.
Match 4: Winner of Match 2 at #1 Southern New Hampshire (12-7, 10-0 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Sunday, May 1 (at highest remaining seed)
Match 5: Match 3 Winner vs. Match 4 Winner 1 p.m.