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2011 Preview: Men's Tennis


West Windsor, N.J. -- Earning a national title is a great achievement for any player -- as well as his coach. Last spring MCCC first doubles partners, sophomore All-Americans Matt Pierson and Jason Bielski, achieved that goal. (The team finished fifth overall.) The new season, minus these two Mercer stars, begins tomorrow in a home match against Harford (MD).

Despite the loss of Pierson and Bielski, Head Coach Marc Vecchiolla is confident that the 2011 team has the potential to make it back to the NJCAA National Tournament. Three participants from last year's roster of six who competed at nationals are back, including Ben Pinter (Florence, NJ/Florence Twp), who is moving up to no. 1 singles and no. 1 doubles. Juan Ramirez (Pennington, NJ/Hightstown) is also back, playing at no. 2 singles and no. 2 doubles with Travis McCaughan(Princeton, NJ/Lawrence), who will also start at no. 4 singles.

In addition to the veterans, Vecchiolla is excited about the incoming freshmen. Leading the rookie class is Josh Parytka (Florence, NJ/Florence Twp), who played no. 1 singles in high school and, according to Vecchiolla, is steady and tenacious at the baseline. "Josh's strengths are his forehand, his footwork and his mental tenacity," Vecchiolla says. Parytka will take the no. 3 slot for the Vikings in both singles and doubles.

Other freshmen include Travis Virgil (East Windsor, NJ/Hightstown), who will start at no. 5 singles and no. 1 doubles, and Adam Czaplinski (Lawrenceville, NJ/Lawrence), starting at no. 6 singles and no. 3 doubles.

Coach Vecchiolla observes that the strong newcomers will make a difference for the entire team. "They help to raise the bar at each practice and prepare each other for the competition they will face as they take on their opponents around the region," he said.

The Vikings will host the Region 19 Championships again this spring and hope to move from last year's runner-up status to Region 19 champs this year. The Vikings have the blend of experience and new talent to do just that.

Vecchiolla will be assisted this season by Ralph Bencivengo and Barb Pleva.

For the season schedule, click here.

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