Women’s Tennis Team Wins Eighth Consecutive Regional Title


Mercer's Region 19 Champs

Back Row: Head Coach Marc Vecchiolla, Siobhan Cahill, Caitlin Bagdonas, Asst. Coach Barbara Pleva and Asst. Coach Ralph Bencivengo.

Middle Row: Rachel Hendrickson, Silvina Wills and Natalia Dabrowska.

Front Row: Krystle Duay and Monica Nicholas.

Marc Vecchiolla, the head coach of the MCCC Women’s Tennis Team, just had one terrific weekend. That’s because his Vikings have done it again, winning the Region 19 title for the eighth straight year. Mercer won the Oct. 22-23 tournament at Mercer County Park with 14 points, followed by Brookdale with six, Gloucester with five, and Morris with two.

The Vikings surged to a commanding lead after Day One of the competitoin. Natalia Dabrowska and Silvina Wills won Flight 2 doubles, and Krystle Duay and Rachel Hendrickson won Flight 3 doubles. On Day Two Mercer continued its dominance, with Dabrowska winning third singles, Duay winning fourth singles, Hendrickson winning fifth singles and Siobhan Cahill wining sixth singles. Silvina Wills lost in the final of Flight 2 singles, while Caitlin Bagdonas and Cahill lost in the first doubles final.

“This is a special team,” Vecchiolla said. “They are really deep. There is not much difference in talent between our no. 1 and our no. 6 players. They are all good.”

At the start of the season, Vecchiolla was cautiously optimistic about the Vikings’ potential, “but we had to see what everyone else had.” Even Brookdale, which Vecchiolla had predicted would be Mercer’s toughest competition, fell to the Vikings during the regular season, 6-3, 6-3.

“The women put in the work and it paid off. They came out to practice every day. There is a great chemistry on the team. They all play well together,” he said.

Looking to the national tournament, which will be played in Tucson, AZ, from May 7-15, 2005, Vecchiolla is enthusiastic about the team’s prospects. “After seeing what they accomplished this season, these girls should believe in themselves and know that if they play up to their ability, a national title is obtainable. We really have a chance to be the best team in the country.”

Dabrowska, Duay, Hendrickson and Cahill were selected to the All-Region team in the singles category. The doubles pairs of Wills/Dabrowska and Duay/Hendrickson were also selected for the All-Region team. For the 2004 GSAC team, singles players Wills, Dabrowska, Duay, Hendrickson and Cahill were selected, while the doubles pairs of Bagdonas/Cahill, Dabrowska/Wills, and Duay Hendrickson were also chosen.

Vecchiolla was assisted this season by Ralph Bencivengo and Barb Pleva. The Vikings begin indoor practices in January in preparation for the nationals.

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