Women's Tennis Team Takes Fifth at Nationals


With a record of 4-3 record in the fall, the women's tennis team earned enough points to qualify for the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament May 2-9 in Tucson, AZ. After a two-year rebuilding period, Head Coach Marc Vecchiolla was glad to take his Vikings back to nationals.

But with only two returning players and none with experience at the national level, Vecchiolla was realistic. "They did their best against some fierce competition, an experience that will make a huge difference for those expected to return next year. They experienced what it takes to be successful at that level," he said.

A highlight of the tournament was the performance of the team's newest member, Maria Eldridge, who made it to the finals at no. 6 and was named a Second Team All-American. A former field hockey player, Eldridge began concentrating on tennis when she started at MCCC in September. Vecchiolla observed that she spent a lot of time on the court and that her hard work was evident at the tournament. She notched a decisive win in her semifinal match against an opponent she had lost to twice during the fall season. "She didn't miss a practice and was extremely responsive to coaching," he said.

In other tournament action, Mercer's no. 1 player Hillary Gall and no. 3 doubles partners Eldridge and Emily Dow won their consolation matches. The Vikings finished fifth overall.

According to Vecchiolla, the mental aspects of tennis can be trying in a regular season match. At the national level, the stress is enormous. "Sometimes your biggest opponent is yourself," he said.

A finalist in the no. 6 position at nationals, Maria Eldridge was named a Second Team All-American.
Head Coach Marc Vecchiolla with sophomore Katrina Brophy (no. 4), selected as this year's Scholar-Athlete in Women's Tennis and freshman Rebecca Wolf (no. 2).

In addition to Eldridge, the roster included Gall, Rebecca Wolf (no. 2), Kristina Holsman (no. 3), Katrina Brophy (no. 4), and Dow (no 5). With all but Gall and Brophy expected to return, Vecchiolla predicts that next year will be one of solid achievement.

Vecchiolla was assisted this year by Barb Pleva and Ralph Bencivengo.

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