NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The four-time defending regular-season champion Merrimack College men’s tennis squad expects to have another run at a Northeast-10 Championship this spring, and was recognized as the 2015 favorite to win the NE-10 in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll released by the league offices this afternoon.
Merrimack received eight first-place votes, one vote shy of a unanimous first-place selection, and 95 points overall. The Warriors enter the spring with one conference victory already under their belt, a 6-3 decision over Le Moyne in October. The Navy and Gold have won 31 straight regular-season conference matches, going undefeated in the regular season each of the last three years. Merrimack has won the NE-10 Championship in two of the last three years.
Senior captain Vince Bellino (Amesbury, Mass.) returns after an All-Conference First Team and All-Academic Team selection last season. Bellino was a combined 19-0 at singles and doubles during conference play last year. JuniorMiguel Belfort (Caracas, Venezuela) shares the captaincy role with Bellino, and was also a member of the first team last year.
Sophomores Nick Majewski (Brewster, Mass.) and Tayyab Sheikh (Longmeadow, Mass.) return after successful rookie campaigns. Majewski ranked on the first team at doubles, while Sheikh was honored on the second team following a 5-1 record at No. 6 singles. Freshman Mikhail Belov (Krasnoarmeyskoy, Russia) began the spring well, receiving Rookie of the Week honors after his first career doubles win. Newcomers Steven Francis (Perth, Australia) and Frank Vega (Lima, Peru) expect to be mainstays in the Warriors’ lineup throughout the season.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Aaron Bergeron, Merrimack challenged nationally ranked NYIT in the spring opener, the Navy and Gold will head to Florida to face No. 8 Saint Leo, No. 13 Rollins and Eckard on consecutive days beginning on Sunday against the eighth-ranked Lions at 11 a.m.
2015 NE-10 Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Poll
1. Merrimack 95 (8)
2. Adelphi 78 (1)
3. Southern New Hampshire 76 (1)
4. Stonehill 72
5. Bentley 71
6. Le Moyne 61
7. Assumption 53
8. Saint Michael’s 30
9. American International 27
10. Saint Anselm 22
11. Franklin Pierce 20