SVC Tennis looks to keep win streak going

The Saint Vincent College men’s tennis team has found success in the first three quarters of the 2016 season. Along with an outstanding record, the team has sustained a nine game win streak up to this point.

The Bearcats began the 2016 season in Florida this year, where they lost both matches to Palm Beach Atlantic University and then Saint Thomas University.

Despite the team’s slow 0-2 start, SVC has not lost a game since the defeat by Saint Thomas on March 3. Upon returning to Pennsylvania, the Bearcats went on to win their first three home games, which were also against Presidents’ Athletic Conference opponents. During this stretch, the Bearcats defeated Westminster College, Geneva College and Waynesburg University.

Throughout the team’s next six games, the Bearcats played on the road for four games, three of which were against PAC opponents. SVC won each contest, defeating Pitt-Greensburg, Washington and Jefferson College, Mount Saint Joseph University, Thomas More College, Thiel College and Penn State Altoona.

Having consecutively won each of these games, the Bearcats extended their winning streak to nine games and improved their overall record to 9-2. SVC ranks first in the PAC, with an undefeated conference record of 6-0. The Bearcats sit comfortably in first, ahead of Grove City and Bethany, who have no more than half of the overall wins, as well as conference wins.

Already doubling their wins from last season, the Bearcats have certainly improved from a year ago. Junior Brian Niemiec agrees. “We’ve definitely improved over last year… We’ve been playing better tennis as a team in general,” said Niemiec. Of the team’s improvements, Niemiec noted, “Our doubles pairings have been much stronger this year compared to last.”

In fact, doubles play has actually been the Bearcat’s main focus in 2016. “[Head coach] Enrico [Campi] stressed to us early on that he wanted us to win all three doubles points every match so we could play with a lead,” said Niemiec.

Having won more games in a single season than they have in three years, the Bearcats took a different approach to the spring of 2016. “I’d contribute our success this season to more preseason play,” said Niemiec. “In the two years I’ve been at SVC we never really played during the fall semester or winter months, but this year we got out and started hitting in September and once the weather got too bad we started hitting at the racquet club.” Niemiec added, “On top of that we are just having fun as a team and that definitely helps to keep us in good spirits when a match isn’t going that great.”

Although SVC has gotten off to a tremendous start, every team needs to continue to improve. Niemiec noted the Bearcats would like to improve their consistency down the stretch. “We all know we can rip winners all day,” said Niemiec, “but we just need to stay focused on winning each point individually and not beating ourselves.”

With only three more regular season games before the PAC Championships, the Bearcats have their eyes set on the gold. “Our goal has been the same all season,” said Niemiec. “Win PACs.” Niemiec noted that Grove City has won the conference 25 straight years and SVC wants to put and end to that.


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