2017 Season Preview Merrimack College men's tennis

A LOOK BACK AT 2016

Merrimack advanced to the program's ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament during the 2016 season. The Warriors posted a 9-1 Northeast-10 Conference record en route to the second seed in the NE10 Championship. Once conference play resumed in April, the Navy and Gold won eight of nine games to close out the regular season.

Merrimack returns three of its five all-conference performers from last season.

The Navy and Gold saw five student-athletes earn all-conference nods last season. Juniors Mikhail Belov and Frank Vega each earned all-league singles honors including a first-team selection for Vega at the third flight. Belov was the Warriors' top-flight opetion, landing on the third team following his 7-1 record at No. 1. Senior captain Nick Majewski took home his third all-league honor in as many seasons at No. 2 doubles

MEET THE 2017 WARRIORS

Alex Loyer joined the program in January as the Interim Head Coach

A former student-athlete and assistant coach at UMass Boston, Alex Loyer begins his first season with the program this spring as the Interim Head Coach. Loyer spent the past three years at his alma mater before transitioning to Merrimack this year.

Majewski and junior captain Thomas O'Brien lead the Navy and Gold into the new season. Belov, O'Brien and Vega comprise the junior class, while senior Tayyab Sheikh joins Majewski as fourth-year student-athletes with the program. Additionally, senior James Hook debuted with the program this fall.

The Warriors only have two underclassmen on the roster. Sophomore Alex Slobin returns after a strong rookie season, while freshman Alex Fedorov enters his first championship campaign with Merrimack after debuting in the fall.

SINGLES COMPETITION

Belov, Vega and Majewski are in line to lead Merrimack's singles lineup entering the year. The trio trotted out at first, second and third singles, respectively, in Merrimack's lone match to date against Connecticut. Last season, Belov and Vega tied for the team lead with 10 singles victories, while Majewski chipped in nine triumphs as a junior.

O'Brien, Sheikh and Slobin combined to compete in 28 singles matches last season - 13 of which came in conference play. The triumvirate posted a 9-4 NE10 singles record combined, with Slobin winning four matches at sixth singles and Sheikh adding a pair of wins at No. 5.

DOUBLES DUOS

Last season the Warriors employed 20 different doubles pairings, but will look to establish consistency on the doubles front entering the spring.

Against Connecticut earlier in February, Belov/Majewski served as Merrimack's top option, Vega/Fedorov were utilized at No. 2 and Sheikh/Slobin rounded out the group at the third flight.

In 2015-16, Majewski and Vega tied for the team lead among 2017 returners with 17 double victories. Belov also finished in double figures with 10 wins, while Sheikh (4) and O'Brien (2) each recorded victories as well.

UPCOMING IN 2017

The Warriors face a 17-match schedule beginning this Saturday against Bentley, which marks the NE10 opener for Merrimack. The Navy and Gold will play nine league matches, while five of Merrimack's eight non-league tilts will be in regional play.

Merrimack's home opener with be on Thursday, March 23, against Post University from North Andover High School. The Warriors have six home matches in total in 2017, with the Post duel part of a four-game homestand for the Navy and Gold.

The Merrimack College men's tennis program begins its NE10 slate this Saturday against Bentley University!
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