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ALBANY, N.Y. – Freshman Celine Mende (Shresbury, Mass.) did not drop a game in doubles or singles to lead the way as the Merrimack College women’s tennis team downed the Saint Rose Golden Knights, 9-0, in the season opener from Myers Middle School in Albany.

Links: Box Score

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 9
 | Saint Rose 0
Records: Merrimack (1-0, 1-0 NE-10)
 | Saint Rose (0-1, 0-1 NE-10)
 Myers Middle School | Albany, N.Y.

What They Said
Head coach Aaron Bergeron: “I was very pleased with how our freshmen played today. They all battled first match jitters but fought through them well. Celine had a great day out there for us and didn’t drop a game. We’re switching our focus to Colby-Sawyer tomorrow.”

How It Happened
Doubles play began at No. 1 with reigning all-conference first team selections Chealsey Giatrelis (Centerville, Mass.) and Grace Messina (Caracas, Venezuela) handling their opponents by an 8-2 score. The team captains played together 13 times last season, posting a 12-1 record.

Sophomore Mackenzie Blair (Thomaston, Conn.) paired with freshman Lauren Persson (Barnstable, Mass.) to take No. 2, 8-5. The most impressive result was at No. 3, where two freshmen in Mende and Mana Seifaei (North York, Ontario) made their collegiate debuts with a shutout win, 8-0, over their counterparts in the final doubles match of the contest.

Singles rolled around and the Warriors did not skip a beat. Messina extended her conference-singles winning streak to 25 matches with a straight sets victory at No. 1. The junior is now 25-0 in the NE-10 during singles play. Outside of a 12-game contest in the second set of No. 2, Merrimack dispersed of the Golden Knights without much opposition at No. 3-6.

Persson, Seifaei and Mende all made their Merrimack debuts, and all won their singles matches in straight sets. Persson won 6-0 and 6-4 at No. 3 while Seifaei and Mende competed at No. 4 and No. 6, respectively. Mende blanked her opponent in straight sets, while Seifaei only lost one game at No. 4.

1. Grace Messina/Chealsey Giatrelis (MER) def. Averie Bowen / Isabella Cubillos (STR) 8-2
2. Mackenzie Blair/Lauren Persson (MER) def. Paige Southwick / Keri Ann Mahoney (STR) 8-5
3. Celine Mende/Mana Seifaei (MER) def. Alana Bergmann / Maria Malafronte (STR) 8-0

1. Grace Messina (MER) def. Averie Bowen (STR)   6-0, 6-2
2. Chealsey Giatrelis (MER) def. Isabella Cubillos (STR) 6-0, 7-5
3. Lauren Persson (MER) def. Paige Southwick (STR) 6-0, 6-4
4. Mana Seifaei (MER) def. Keri Ann Mahoney (STR) 6-0, 6-1
5. Mackenzie Blair (MER) def. Alana Bergmann (STR) 6-0, 6-1
6. Celine Mende (MER) def. Maria Malafronte (STR) 6-0, 6-0

Up Next
Merrimack competes in its first non-conference match of the season tomorrow afternoon when the Warriors battle Colby-Sawyer at 1 p.m. in New London, N.H.

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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