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Strong Finish Highlights Season for Lady Vikings Tennis Team


WEST WINDSOR Ė Marc Vecchiolla, womenís tennis coach at Mercer County Community College, likens the tennis season to a game of chess: itís difficult to determine the outcome until the last move is made.

"We started off slow," Vecchiolla said, in reference to the teamís 0-5 initial foray into the season. "But there was so much improvement and work ethic. We came together as a team."

So much so that the lady Viking’s tennis team went from last place in the region to third place by the end of the season, finishing the season at 6-7. The short season means that team members have to learn quickly, Vecchiolla said, and they proved to be up for the challenge.

"Tennis is very much like chess; you have to think ahead and be patient," Vecchiolla said. "You try to utilize the time that you have, and bring out the strategic aspect of the sport. And that really helped our players get to the next level in a short amount of time."

MCCC Women's Tennis Team

The 2014 Mercer County Community College Women's Tennis Team, back row: Assistant Coach Barb Pleva, Laurisa Guillaume, Valerie Gapco, Head Coach Marc Vecchiolla. Front row: Tiffany Fortier, Kelly Runzer, Haley Cortelyou. Not pictured: Assistant Coach Ralph Bencivengo.

Vecchiolla attributes hard work, good attitude, and a willingness to learn for the team’s quick turnaround, winning six out of eight matches after dropping the first five. He said that in spite of a lot of inexperience on the team, they learned quickly.

"They really did improve a lot, and the credit goes to them, for putting the work in," Vecchiolla said.

Among the bright spots in the season was no. 1 singles player Valerie Gapco, a second-year player who concluded her Mercer career with a combined record of 37-25 – good for ninth on MCCC’s all-time win list. First-year player Haley Cortelyou also provided a big boost from the no. 2 singles and no. 1 doubles spot, with a combined record of 22-13 on the season.

Vecchiolla said there is reason for optimism next season, with experienced players expected to return and the potential for new additions from next year’s freshman class.

"We will see what happens, one season at a time," Vecchiolla said. "Last year was another rewarding coaching experience – the girls were really terrific. We gave them a chance to learn and have fun, and hopefully they will continue to grow as players."

Vecchiolla was assisted by coaches Ralph Bencivengo and Barb Pleva.


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