FAIRFIELD, CT (April 17, 2012) - The Northeast Conference announced the seeding for this weekend's Tennis Championship to be held at Mercer County Park in West Windsor, NJ on Friday through Sunday. The Pioneer women are seeded third in the field of 10 teams while the men are tabbed fifth in their nine team field.
The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights are the top-seed on both the men's and women's draw. Play will get underway on Friday morning with three outbracket matches. On the women's side, #8 Monmouth faces #9 Wagner while #7 Saint Francis (PA) takes on #10 St. Francis (NY). On the men's side, #8 St. Francis (NY) takes on #9 Wagner.
The SHU women will face #6 Robert Morris in their quarterfinal match. The Pioneers beat the Colonials earlier this season, 6-1, on their spring trip to Orlando, FL. Sacred Heart finished the season with an 8-12 overall record and a 3-3 mark against teams in the NEC, beating RMU, Monmouth and LIU Brooklyn and falling to Bryant, Quinnipiac and the top-seeded Knights.
The defending NEC champion Pioneer men take on #4 seeded Mount St. Mary's in their opening quarterfinal match. SHU finished the season 4-12 overall and 1-4 in conference play. Sacred Heart did not face the Mount during the season but did earn a win over St. Francis (NY) while falling to Bryant, Quinnipiac, FDU and Monmouth.
Seniors Kate Donnelly (Centerville, MA), Kristina Chao (Needham, MA) and Kristina Legenza (Berlin, CT) will be playing in their final NEC Championship Tournament. Donnelly will enter the tournament at 17-15 overall in singles play and 4-2 against NEC teams. Playing at #3 singles for much of the season, she has posted a 9-6 mark and will enter the tournament at 6-4 over her last 10 matches. Chao is 10-19 on the year, 6-12 playing from her usual spot at #5 singles. Donnelly and Chao were 9-15 as a doubles team this season, 3-3 in NEC matches.
At the top of the Pioneer line-up sits sophomore Gabi Kaldan (New Brunswick, NJ) and freshman Nicole Rydzewski (Maspeth, NY). Kaldan has been the Pioneers #1 player all season, posting a 9-11 record in the top-spot. She sported a 4-2 record against NEC teams. Rydzewski owns a team-best 18 wins this season, going 18-10 overall and 10-5 playing in the #2 slot.
For the men, Sullo is the only Pioneer with any NEC Tournament experience heading into the weekend. Sullo posted a 16-3 record last season playing at #5 and #6 singles. This year, the senior stepped into the #1 singles slot and finished the year a team-best 11-11. Sullo went 3-2 against NEC teams.
The rest of the Pioneer line-up will feature fresh faces at the NEC Tournament. Freshman Justin Pagan (Flushing, NY) had a solid debut, posting a 6-10 record while playing at #2, #3, and #4 singles.
The women's match is scheduled to start no earlier than 11:30 am on Friday morning while the men will open play at approximately 2:00 pm.