Jan. 28, 2010
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (January 28, 2010) - Defending Northeast Conference champion Sacred Heart was chosen as the favorite to repeat, topping the 2010 Men's Tennis Coaches Poll announced by the league office on Thursday. The Pioneers received five first-place votes in the survey of the conference's nine head coaches to earn the moniker of preseason favorite for the first time in program history.
The third year was the charm for head coach Paul Gagliardi who saw his young roster suffer a pair of quarterfinal round exits before blossoming into a champion. Hoping to hoist up the NEC trophy for a second straight season, Sacred Heart returns all six starters from the team that delivered the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. A trio of juniors comprise the top half of the Pioneers' singles lineup with Kirill Kasyanov (Yonkers, NY/Saddlebrook Prep) looking to improve on last season's 16-7 record in the top spot. Fellow New York product Chris Ujkic (Mattituck, NY/Mattituck) won 11 matches at second singles, including a comeback victory in the NEC title tilt. Adam Gart (Bedford, MA/URI) picked up first team all-NEC honors at No. 3 singles while winning 21 matches in his first season of competition after transferring from Rhode Island. Junior Nick Mazzarese (Stonington, CT/Stonington) occupies the fourth spot followed by second team all-NEC honorees senior Jinal Shah (Mombasa, Kenya/The Citadel) and junior Michael Syer (Oakville, Ontario/St. Ignatius of Loyola).