Women's Tennis Team Heads for Nationals in Texas


The Women's Tennis Team leaves for College Station, TX, on May 1 to compete in the NJCAA National Tournament, which takes place May 2 to 7. The Vikings are a familiar presence at the tournament, having won three national titles in the past seven years and placed second twice. They are virtual legends in Region 19, earning the title seven years in a row.

Said Head Coach Marc Vecchiolla, "I think the players feel the pressure of living up to expectations and matching past accomplishments. We try not to focus on that too much, but just to work hard to get ready for the nationals." He notes that scheduling practices has been a challenge this spring due to players' other commitments, but he remains optimistic. "This is a good team. They were undefeated in the fall. The outcome of the nationals all depends on the draw and who gets matched up with whom."

With six strong players, three having participated in the national tournament last year, Vecchiolla has plenty of talent and experience on his roster. Players include Landry Shelley (no. 1); Silvina Wills (no. 2), who replaces Jana Sulerova, now attending Rider University; Maureen Haggerty (no. 3); Hsiao-Ting Lin (no. 4); Janice Wilcox (no. 5); and Desiree Noel (no. 6).

Vecchiolla is looking forward to getting to Texas. "Once we land in Texas and all the distractions are behind us, I think it will be easier to focus. The closer it gets, the more the women will relish the opportunity. For some of them, this will be their last tennis event as a college player. It would be nice if they could bring home some sort of trophy."

Some of the competition will be familiar. Mercer played Harford Community College in the fall, winning 5-4. The Vikings also were victorious over SUNY Orange (Orange County Community College), another team expected at the nationals.

Vecchiolla notes that each team is like its own little family and this year is no exception. "The women get along great and are very receptive to the coaches," he said. Vecchiolla has the help of two talented, dedicated assistants, Barb Pleva and Ralph Bencivengo. "Because of players' varied schedules, their help has been invaluable this spring. I couldn’t do it without them," he said.

For updates on the tournament, click NJCAA Division III Women's Tennis.

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