Preview: Men's Tennis
Three Returning All-Americans on Roster
Windsor, N.J. -- Mercer County Community College Head Coach
Marc Vecchiolla is glad to see five returning tennis players
from last year's squad, which placed third in the nation.
And he is glad that three of those players - Josh Partyka,
Travis Virgil and Adam Czaplinski - are All-Americans. But
with just one new addition, bringing the roster to six, he
is realistic about the challenges that lie ahead.
Vecchiolla admits that his expectations are high after last
year's stellar results. "Coming in third in the country
- Mercer only did that one other time, under [former head
coach] Stan Dlugosz," he says. Vecchiolla maintains that
with one or two more players, the Vikings would be a contender
for top honors.
Vecchiolla predicts that the competition in Region 19 will
continue to be some of the best in the country. Gloucester
County College won the national title last year and Brookdale
came in second. Bergen is also expected to be strong this
Still, the Vikings are expected to win plenty of matches,
and Vecchiolla is hopeful that his players will have fun and
learn a lot in the process. He notes that winning close matches
while working on the weaknesses in one's game is better than
beating someone by a wide margin.
But Vecchiolla is also realistic, given the numbers on the
roster. "We are not going to win every match. We will
need to keep emotions in check. Losses are character builders.
You always remember the losses," says the seasoned coach,
now in his sixth year as head coach for the men. (Vecchiolla
has coached women's tennis at Mercers since 1997).
The roster includes Partyka at no. 1 singles (Florence, NJ/Florence
Township Memorial HS); Virgil at no. 2 singles (East Windsor,
NJ/Hightstown HS); and Czaplinski at no. 3 singles (Lawrenceville,
NJ/Lawrence HS). Playing at no. 4 singles is sophomore Jeff
Castera (Hamilton, NJ/Nottingham HS), who has improved dramatically
since last year. No. 5 is freshman Elias DeLeon (Trenton,
NJ/Ewing HS) and no. 6 is Luis Morales (Ewing, NJ/Ewing HS).
Doubles partners include Partyka and Czaplinski at first doubles;
Virgil and Castera at second doubles; and DeLeon and Morales
at third doubles.
Partyka (no. 1)
Virgil (no. 2)
Czaplinski (no. 3)
says his players clearly possess the passion to succeed. He
recalls a pre-season practice that started at 1:30 p.m. After
he left the Tennis Center, his team wasn't ready to call it
quits. "I got a call at 7:30 asking if there was a way
they could turn on the lights," Vecchiolla said. "They
wanted to stay forever, which is great."
The Vikings will face Williamson Trade in their first home
match on Tuesday, March 27 at 3:30 p.m. at Mercer County Park.
The full schedule is available here.
Vecchiolla is assisted this season by Ralph Bencivengo and
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