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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – In a rematch of last season’s Northeast-10 Conference Semifinal, the Merrimack College women’s tennis team met the Adelphi University Panthers for a regular-season contest at the Willow Racquet and Fitness Center. The Panthers avenged last year’s loss to the Warriors, hanging on for a 5-4 win on Friday evening.

Links: Box Score

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 4
 | Adelphi 5
Records: Merrimack (3-1, 2-1 NE-10)
 | Adelphi (3-0, 2-0 NE-10)
 Willow Raquet and Fitness Center | North Andover, Mass.

How It Happened
The doubles portion of the match belonged to Adelphi, with the Panthers winning two of the three contests. No. 2 finished first with sophomore Danielle Dunn (Middleton, Mass.) and freshman Mana Seifaei (North York, Onatario) losing 8-1. Dunn made her season debut after missing the first three matches of the year.

After playing their first three matches at No. 2, sophomore Mackenzie Blair (Thomaston, Conn.) and freshman Lauren Persson (Barnstable, Mass.) slotted in at No. 3. Trailing 3-2, the duo won their service point then took a break point to secure a 4-3 lead. The Panthers responded by winning the final five games of the set to win, 8-4, securing a lead going into singles.

The intensity increased significantly at No. 1 doubles. Senior Chealsey Giatrelis (Centerville, Mass.) and junior Grace Messina (Caracas, Venezuela) preserved the undefeated record in NE-10 doubles with a 9-8 (7-4) win over the pair of Stefani Lineva and Karen Serina. With Merrimack leading 6-5, the two pairs would exchange five consecutive break points to send the match to a tiebreak at 8-8. Messina, serving for the match, secured the seventh point needed to win the tiebreak as the Warriors salvaged one of three doubles points.

Merrimack entered singles play needing to win four of six matches to come-from-behind and win. Messina made it 26 consecutive NE-10 singles victories with a straight-set win over Stefani Lineva at No. 1. Blair held a one-set advantage at No. 6 before her opponent was forced to retire, giving Merrimack the victory.

Needing two victories at No. 2-5, Gialtrelis came through for the Warriors with a three-set win at No. 2. The senior captain won the opening set before fighting back in the final frame, 6-1, to win his fourth straight singles match to begin the year.

Persson and Dunn lost at No. 3 and 4, respectively, in straight sets, leaving it to Seifaei to serve as the Warriors’ hero. The Canadian rookie won her first set, 6-4, but Samantha Perri of Adelphi was able to comeback and win the final two sets to clinch the match for the visitors.

1. Grace Messina/Chealsey Giatrelis (MER) def. Stefani Lineva  / Karen Serina (ADE) 9-8 (7-4)
2. Elizabeth Kallenberg / Samantha Perri (ADE) def. Danielle Dunn / Mana Seifaei (MER) 8-1
3. Rebecca Fakas / Elena Nastasi (ADE) def. Mackenzie Blair/Lauren Persson (MER) 8-4

1. Grace Messina (MER) def. Stefani Lineva (ADE) 6-1, 6-2
2. Chealsey Giatrelis (MER) def. Elizabeth Kallenberg (ADE) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
3. Karen Serina (ADE) def. Lauren Persson (MER) 6-3, 6-2
4. Rebecca Fakas (ADE) def. Danielle Dunn (MER) 6-1, 6-2
5. Samantha Perri (ADE) def. Mana Seifaei (MER) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
6. Mackenzie Blair (MER) def. Elena Nastasi (ADE) 7-5, retired

Up Next
The Navy and Gold travel to West Haven, Conn. tomorrow to battle the University of New Haven in NE-10 action beginning at 1 p.m.

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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