Men's Tennis Finishes Third in Nation
Windsor, N.J. -- The men's tennis team came up big at the
NJCAA National Tournament in Plano, TX, May 16-20, finishing
third in the country in Div. III. According to Head Coach
Marc Vecchiolla, each member of the squad contributed to the
"It was a wonderful tournament with a great group of
guys," he said. "Any time you travel together, you
get so much closer."
notes that Mercer's third place finish is one of the program's
best ever and that the three top teams were all from Region
19 and dominated the tournament, winning all nine flights.
(Gloucester CC was the champ with 26 points; Brookdale came
in second with 21 points; and Mercer earned 18 points.)
"It's very helpful to have that level of competition
during the regular season, because it makes our players so
much better," Vecchiolla said. "Of course, we wanted
to win the tournament and believe on any given day we could
have beaten both those teams."
Sophomores Travis McCaughan and Juan Ramirez achieved their
ultimate goal by winning the title at no. 2 doubles. The duo
proved their mettle in hard-fought contests, winning in the
semis 6-0; 6-7 (5); 7-6 (4) and taking the final 5-7; 6-2;
6-2. Other doubles highlights included no. 3 doubles partners
Adam Czaplinski and Josh Partyka, who made it to the final
before being defeated in three sets. No. 1 doubles partners
Ben Pinter and Travis Virgil won their consolation final.
action, Virgil (no. 5) lost in the final, while Pinter (no.
1), Ramirez (no. 2), Partyka (no. 3) and Czaplinski (no. 6)
all made it to the semis before being defeated. Czaplinski
won his consolation final.
Vikings in Texas, from left, Asst. Coach Ralph Bencivengo,
players Jeff Castera, Travis Virgil, Adam Czaplinski, John
Partyka, Travis McCaughan, Juan Ramirez and Ben Pinter, Asst.
Coach Barb Pleva and Head Coach Marc Vecchiolla.
doubles winners Travis McCaughan, left, and
Juan Ramirez accept their All-American certificates.
Vecchiolla notes that the tournament really helps players
take their game to the next level. "The sophomores who
competed at nationals last year told the younger guys all
season what it's like and how hard you have to work. They
knew what to expect and were much calmer going in."
Vecchiolla believes the losses are sometimes more important
than the victories. "You learn the most from the matches
that his four returning players will be ready for all comers
when their season commences next spring. "By the time
the tournament was over, they were already talking about how
hard they plan to work to improve their game. The potential
for a trip to nationals becomes a powerful motivator."
was assisted this season by Ralph Bencivengo and Barb Pleva.
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