BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Fourth-seeded and host Bridgewater State University posted a hard-fought 5-3 victory over #5 Salem State University in the opening round of the 2017 Little East Conference Men's Tennis Tournament on Tuesday afternoon at the Rosen Memorial Tennis Courts.
The Bears (6-6) advance to the semifinal round and will travel to top seed UMass Boston on Thursday afternoon. The match is slated to get underway at four and will take place at the Weymouth Tennis Club. The visiting Vikings end the season with an overall record of 3-12.
Bridgewater led 2-1 after doubles play thanks to a pair of comeback wins at the first and third flight.
The Bears' top doubles pairing of seniors Matt McGee (Warren, R.I.) and Chris Jastrab (Chicago, Ill.) trailed 7-4 and fought off three match points before battling back for a 9-8 win which was decided with a 7-4 tie-breaker. Sophomore Alexander Belinsky (Norton, Mass.) and junior Jacob Frazee (Yarmouth, Mass.) bounced back from a 6-5 deficit to post a 9-7 victory at third doubles.
Salem's brother tandem of senior Luke Hodgkins (Winthrop, Mass.) and freshman Noah Hodgkins (Winthrop, Mass.) picked up the Vikings' lone doubles point with an 8-6 triumph at the second flight.
In singles play, a pair of quick 6-0, 6-1 straight wins by Jastrab at the second flight and classmate Justin Haley (South Yarmouth, Mass.) at number three staked the Bears to a 4-1 lead.
Noah Hodgkins posted a 6-4, 6-1 straight set victory at the fourth flight, and sophomore Chen Chen (Lawrence, Mass.) recorded a 7-5, 6-0 win at the top spot to cut the Vikings' deficit to 4-3.
Belinsky then clinched the match for Bridgewater State with a 6-3, 6-2 straight set win at number five.
Salem State junior Dan Holland (Woburn, Mass.) and BSU freshman Joshua Bean (Kingston, Mass.) split the first two sets at the unfinished sixth flight (6-2, 5-7). Holland was leading 4-1 in the third set when Belinsky recorded the fifth and deciding point to put an end to the match.
Notes: The Little East Tournament victory marked the first for the Bears since the 2013 season, a 5-1 first round win over Salem State.