ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. – The Merrimack College women’s tennis team relied on its top options in its match earlier today against Eckerd College from St. Petersburg, Fla. The Warriors won at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, and proceeded to notch victories at No. 1-3 singles, including a three-set thriller from senior Chealsey Giatrelis (Centerville, Mass.) at No. 3, to clinch the win over the Tritons.
Score: Merrimack 5 | Eckerd 4
Records: Merrimack (12-7)| Eckerd (1-4)
Location: Dick Bullard Courts | St. Petersburg, Fla.
What They Said
Head coach Aaron Bergeron: “The girls played really tough tennis in the heat today. Chealsey sealed the match after being down 5-2 in the third set, which proves she is a fighter and today was just another example of how tough an out she is.”
How It Happened
After losing its first two matches of the spring against nationally ranked opponents, the Warriors were looking to gain some confidence against Eckerd.
The match started off well for the Navy and Gold as they took a 2-1 advantage into singles play. Sophomore Grace Messina (Caracas, Venezuela) and Giatrelis handled business at No. 1 doubles with the 8-6 win. Seniors Shakee Messina (Caracas, Venezuela) and Rachel Muller (North Andover, Mass.), reunited at No. 2, came away with a dominant 8-3 win. The freshman combination of Mackenzie Blair (Thomaston, Conn.) and Danielle Dunn (Middleton, Mass.) faltered at No. 3, 8-5.
The singles portion of the match brought an intense atmosphere. Grace Messina was dominant at No. 1, winning her match 6-0 and 6-0. It took her sister Shakee three sets to top her opposition. The senior dropped her first set, 6-4, before coming back to win the final two frames, 6-4 and 6-0. Dunn, Muller and Blair lost at No. 4-6, respectively, which left the match on the shoulders of Giatrelis at No. 2.
The all-conference first-team member dropped the opening set, 6-4, but captured the second frame at 6-3. The winner-take-all third set provided all the drama. Giatrelis fell down 5-2, but battled back to win five unanswered points and came away with the 7-5 set win, clinching the point and the match for the Warriors.
1. Grace Messina/Chealsey Giatrelis (MER) def. Gipson Hawn/Amy Naula (ECK) 8-6
2. Shakee Messina/Rachel Muller (MER) def. Emily Fridrik /Erika Fridrik (ECK) 8-3
3. Katie Benn/Carson Trapp (ECK) def. Danielle Dunn /Mackenzie Blair (MER) 5-8
1. Grace Messina (MER) def. Gipson Hawn (ECK) 6-0, 6-0
2. Chealsey Giatrelis (MER) def. Carson Trapp (ECK) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
3. Shakee Messina (MER) def. Emily Fridrik (ECK) 4-6, 6-4, 6-0
4. Amy Naula (ECK) def. Danielle Dunn (MER) 1-6, 1-6
5. Katie Benn (ECK) def. Rachel Muller (MER) 2-6, 1-6
6. Erika Fridrik (ECK) def. Mackenzie Blair (MER) 3-6, 3-6
The Navy and Gold will play in its last match from Florida on Friday afternoon when the Warriors meet up with Southern Indianan in Cape Canaveral, Fla. at 11 a.m.