Men’s Tennis Win Big East Championship


St. John’s Men’s Tennis team posing after winning the Big East championship

Photo Courtesy/Athletic Communications

Sydney Denham, Staff Writer

The St. John’s University Men’s Tennis team saw themselves as the Big East Champions for the first time since 2016 with their win over three-seed Marquette, 4-3.

Included in this victory is a spot in the 2019 NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament. St. John’s will take on fifth seeded Virginia on Friday in Charlottesville Virginia, looking to upset the Cavaliers in their home state.

St. John’s took on Marquette last year in the semifinal match, and they proved themselves to be a difficult opponent. This year, however, the Johnnies are taking the Championship back to New York.

“Our team has so much heart and it showed off today. To come back from a 3-0 deficit, it’s unbelievable,” head coach Dillon Pottish said.

Both St. John’s and Marquette had wins in the doubles play. Andrei Crapcenco and Udayan Bhakar lost their first match, 7-5, in the No. 1 bout. Alan Nunez Aguilera and Ognjen Trejgut took a win on the No. 2 court when they forced a third match for double points, 6-3.

Dusan Vukicevic and Daniel Skripnik fell to Marquette’s duo Fran San Andreas and Luke Smrek in a tiebreaker, 7-6(6).

This win did not come easy for St. John’s as they fell behind in the first two matches when Marquette won on the No. 5 and 6 courts. This brought Marquette one match away from claiming the Big East title. The Johnnies, Bhakar and Ognjen Trejgut, fell to the Golden Eagle’s Greg Anderson and Brandon Shanklin during these matches.

After falling back 3-0, the Johnnies fought back and Aditya Vashistha defeated Luis Heredia Gomez in two straight sets, 7-5, 6-2. After this, St. John’s was back on their game. Seniors Nunez Aguilera and Crapcenco leveled their matches at three points each. Nunez Aguilera won his third singles match of the weekend in the No. 2 contest, 6-4, 6-4.

The game came down to Vukicevic in the No. 4 court. He tied up the match by winning the second set, and finally took home the title by forcing a tiebreaker following that.

Dusan Vukicevic, after leading the Johnnies to their fourth conference Championship, was named the Big East Most Outstanding Player. Vukicevic sealed their win in the fourth match, leading them to a come-back victory.

Pottish added at the end of the matches, “Our goal was to bring back a championship to New York and we did it. This is only just the beginning.”

The St. John’s Men’s Tennis team will travel to Virginia later this week, ready determined to knock off one of the best teams in the nation. Until then, they can celebrate as the Big East Champions for the fourth time in six years.