Tennis teams head south for Big East Tournament

The men’s and women’s tennis teams will both travel south to Tampa, Fla. to take part in the Big East tennis tournament set to begin tomorrow.

The men’s team is heading into the tournament playing well having won five of their last seven games, with two of the wins coming against Big East rivals Connecticut and Villanova. The Red Storm ended regular season play with a 10-10 overall record and 2-2 mark in the conference.

The Red Storm will be entering the tournament as the seventh seed and are scheduled to play second-seeded Louisville in their first contest Friday morning. The Red Storm did not face the Cardinals (16-6, 1-1) during the regular season.

When he found out that his team would play Louisville in the first round of the tournament, coach Eric Rebhuhn went to the head coach of Tennessee Tech for a scouting report.

“He was able to tell me all the positives and negatives of each player,” Rebhuhn said. “So hopefully we will be able to match up well and be able to exploit their weaknesses and come out on top.”

Although the Cardinals posted 16 wins this season, only two came on the road. Their poor play off their home court is something the Red Storm hope will continue in Tampa.

Captain Artem Vlasenko feels good about St. John’s shot at going all the way in the tournament.

“If we play with great confidence and we feel good, we have a very good chance of going into the final and winning the Big East,” Vlasenko said.

If St. John’s gets passed Louisville on Friday, they will advance to the semi-finals and play the winner of the match between No.3 USF and No.6 Georgetown.

This will be St. John’s fourth consecutive appearance at the tournament. They will try to build on last year’s fourth place finish in the tournament and capture a Big East title – a feat they haven’t accopmlished since 1991.

“I tell the players that it’s a new season,” Rebhuhn said. “Don’t look at the seeds, just go out and play as hard as you can.”

The women’s tennis team won their final game of the season against Queens College on Monday to end their season on a seven-game winning-streak. Three of the wins during that stretch came against conference opponents in Connecticut, Rutgers and Villanova. The Red Storm finished 10-10 and 4-3 in the Big East.

St. John’s will enter the tournament as the No. 7 seed and will challenge No. 10 West Virginia (14-8, 4-2) in the first round.
The last time St. John’s saw the Mountaineers was a match during last year’s tournament, which West Virginia won.
Coach Allison said that they are more prepared to face West Virginia this year.

“We’re excited about playing West Virginia,” Davidson said, “it’s going to be a great rematch and hopefully we come out on top this time.”

Senior Maria Zivcicova, who has been one of St. John’s most consistent singles’ player and brave leader on the team, will have to continue playing well for St. John’s to go far in the tournament.

Zivcicova has played through nagging injuries throughout the season and has contributed immensely to the late-season winning.

Zivcicova has also proved to be valuable in doubles when paired up with Ira Aleksova. The two posted an 8-3 record together.

“We need to stick together and give a hundred-percent every day,” Zivcicova said. “We can’t give up; we need to support each other on the court.”

If they win, the Storm will move on to play No. 2 Louisville (15-6, 3-1) in the quarterfinals on Friday.