Tennis Team Comes Home with Fifth Place
WINDSOR, N.J. - While men's tennis coach Marc Vecchiolla still
believes in his heart they could have taken home the trophy,
the men's tennis team had to settle for fifth place at the
National Junior College Athletic Association Div. III Tennis
Tournament, held May 10-14 in Plano, TX.
The competition was the best that Vecchiolla has seen and
the teams that finished first and second hailed from MCCC's
own Region 19. "We were as talented and motivated as
any team there. We definitely could have finished first if
we had played to our potential. The competition was just too
good for anything less than our best performance," he
said, noting that in the tournament point system, a few missed
opportunities can make a key difference in the outcome.
"I'm really proud of our guys. They competed hard. It's
just the nature of sports - some days you win; some days you
lose; some days it rains," Vecchiolla said.
no. 1 doubles partners Matt Pierson and Jason Bielski experienced
the thrill of ultimate victory, winning the national title
in three sets over Svenson/Wolski from Brookdale CC. Vecchiolla
notes that after a bye in the first round, each of Bielski
and Pierson's subsequent matches were extremely challenging.
"Each round went to three sets," Vecchiolla said.
"It was highly competitive and very close."
There were many "almost" moments. No. 2 Jason Bielski
reached the final in the highly competitive tournament. "Bielski's
was a huge accomplishment," Vecchiolla said.
back row from left, Sherri Krummel, Travis McCaughan, Asst.
Coach Barbara Pleva, Brendan Belluscio, Joon Lee, Jason Bielski,
Jason Ciaccio, Matt Romano and Dave Wilkes; front row, Ben
Pinter, Coach Marc Vecchiolla, Matt Pierson, Juan Ramirez
and Asst. Coach Ralph Bencivengo.
banquet, standing from left, Brendan Belluscio, Matt Pierson,
Jason Bielski, Coach Marc Vecchiolla, Asst. Coaches Ralph
Bencivengo and Barbara Pleva; seated from left, Matt Romano,
Jason Ciaccio, Travis McCaughan, Ben Pinter, Juan Ramirez,
Joon Lee, and Dave Wilkes.
At no. 4 singles Juan Ramirez won his consolation tournament and
no. 5 Ben Pinter made it to the tournament's main draw semi-final
round before losing in three close sets. No. 3 Travis McGaughan
lost his consolation final match in three sets and no. 3 doubles
partners Ramirez and Matt Romano won their consolation tournament.
to Vecchiolla, his teams usually try to take in a few sights while
at nationals. Not this year. "We had long days at the courts,
lasting 10 to 12 hours," he said. Players rose each morning
at 5:30 a.m., were on the court by 7:10 a.m, and started matches
by 8. "The matches were spread out, and the majority of them
went to three sets."
With a total of 20 points, Mercer was fifth after Gloucester, the
national champs with 29.5, Brookdale with 27.5, Oxford College (GA)
with 27, and Rock Valley College (IL) with 21.5. Pierson and Bielski
were named All-Americans. Bielski was also named an Academic All-American
and another player, Brendan Belluscio, was named a Distinguished
Academic All-American. Vecchiolla was assisted this season by Ralph
Bencivengo and Barb Pleva.
Vecchiolla notes that Region 19 will be competitive for years to
come. "Gloucester and Brookdale are very well coached. We will
have our hands full. I believe our region is a level ahead of the
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