N.J. -- With a schedule that includes 17 matches and two tournaments
within a 30-day period, Mercer County Community College men's tennis
coach Marc Vecchiolla is glad to have such a deep squad this year.
He recalls his team from two years ago that finished fifth in the
nation. "That team was great, but not as deep as this one."
He is optimistic about the Vikings' prospects. "We are definitely
going to win some matches and we are going to have fun," Vecchiolla
predicts. Coming after a season when the Vikings were 3-9, he points
to several key factors in the anticipated turnaround.
"Our four returning players have worked their tails off since
last year. They are setting a good example for the rest of the squad.
And the guys who have joined the team are all very strong players,"
At No. 1 is Matt Pierson. With an extremely fast serve, a terrific
all-around game, and tons of tennis experience, Pierson will be
a formidable foe. While at Montgomery High School, he went to the
quarterfinals of the state singles championships two years in a
row. No. 2 Jason Bielski played on the MCCC team two years ago,
when the Vikings went to nationals and Bielski reached the semifinals
at No. 5 singles. With the addition of a tennis court in his backyard
and matches with some area legends, he has made great strides. Vecchiolla
reports,"He loves the game and plays constantly." No.
3 Travis McCaughan, from Lawrence High School, is also a solid player,
with a big forehand and serve. Mercer's No. 4, Juan Ramirez, played
tennis in high school, as did No. 5 Ben Pinter, who played No. 2
singles for Florence. Rounding out the squad are former Hamilton
West High School's No. 1 player, Dave Wilkes, playing for Mercer
at No. 6; former Nottingham High School's No. 1 Jason Ciaccio at
No. 7; Matt Romano at No. 8; Joon Lee at No. 9, and Brendan Belluscio
at No. 10. Three others are on roster, but will not travel with
With so much talent on the squad, Vecchiolla says there is a fine
balance. "The players are competitive with one another, but
they have a common goal to be a great team. It makes them push each
other; they improve with competition."
The Vikings kick off their season this Friday, Mar. 19, in an away
match against Williamson Trade (Media, Pa.), a newcomer to the division.
For more on men's tennis, including schedule, visit here.