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Men’s Tennis Places Seventh at National Championship; Finishes Strong Despite Small Roster


West Windsor, N.J. – Two players can make a big difference – especially in team tennis.

Brandon Davis and Tyler Sincoskie, the no. 1 and no. 2 singles players, respectively, on Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC's) men’s tennis team, competed at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III National Championship hosted by Collin College in Plano, Tex., May 11-15.  Their performance was solid enough to earn Mercer a seventh place finish overall out of 12 teams.  Compiling 5.5 points, the Vikings ended the tournament a half-point ahead of Onondaga (NY) and three places ahead of Brookdale, which had edged Mercer for the third and final team qualifying spot at the Region 19 Championship held May 1-3.

A major Mercer highlight at nationals was the contribution of freshman Davis, who was the Backdraw Champion at no. 1 singles.  Davis lost his opening singles match 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 to Andrew Reiley of Suffolk (NY), which dropped him into the Backdraw.  But Davis still had plenty of great tennis left in him as he went on to defeat Matt McCall of Onondaga 7-6, 6-2 and Troy Derrick of the Community College of Rhode Island 6-2, 6-2 to win the Backdraw at the top flight.

Sophomore Tyler Sincoskie won his opening match at no. 2 singles 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 over Jonathan Van Kouwenberg of Onondaga.  He subsequently lost to the eventual national champion at no. 2 singles, Peter Higgins of Oxford (Ga.), 6-0, 6-0 in a quarterfinal match.

Sincoskie says winning a match at nationals meant a great deal to him. "It was awesome to be able to play at the national level and then to win a match was a great feeling. It made the season special," he said.

Brandon Davis, left, and Tyler Sincoskie during
one of their doubles match at nationals

Front row from left, players Angelo Codilla, Brandon Davis, Tyler Sincoskie and Erik Wiener; back row from left, Assistant Coaches Ralph Bencivengo and Barb Pleva and Head Coach Marc Vecchiolla.

Davis and Sincoskie also competed at first doubles at nationals.  They opened play with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Honda/Kaneda of SUNY-Delhi, but then lost to the top seed, Heaney/Higgins of Oxford, 6-2, 6-1 in their quarterfinal match.

Vecchiolla was full of praise for Davis’s and Sincoskie’s play at nationals and their contributions to the team throughout the season.  Davis, the Region 19 champion at no. 1 singles and an All-Region 19 First Team pick, went 16-5 on the season, while Sincoskie, who has only been playing tennis competitively for 15 months, showed major improvements from his freshman to his sophomore years. THis year, he compiled a 6-6 regular season record at no. 2 singles.  In their no. 1 doubles pairing, Davis and Sincoskie compiled a 9-3 regular season record.

“I’m proud of Brandon and Tyler, and all the members of this team,” Vecchiolla said.  “Our goals every year are to work hard, communicate effectively, have fun and improve.  We played the entire season short-handed, met all of our goals, and had a terrific record, especially under the circumstances.“ The other two Vikings players who gave it their all were sophomore Angelo Codilla and freshman Erik Wiener.  The team finished the regular season with a record of 6-7.

As a freshman, Davis has set the bar high for next year. With Wiener expected to return as well, the Vikings will have a nice nucleus from which to build.

But the team will certainly feel the loss of Sincoskie, who studied Architecture at Mercer and will transfer to Florida Atlantic University in August to continue for his bachelor's degree. "Tyler was the ultimate team leader," Vecchiolla said. "He had a wonderful attitude. His drive on the court and in the classroom was inspirational.” Sincoskie earned a 4.0 GPA in the fall and narrowly missed being named an NJCAA Academic-All American for his final GPA.

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

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