| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo courtesy of St. John's Athletics


The St. John’s men’s tennis team captured the BIG EAST Men’s Tennis Championship for the first time since 2016, defeating Marquette 4-3 in the conference championship match this week.

The victory catapults the Red Storm into the 2019 NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament as an automatic qualifier, and will find out its opponent, location and match date this Monday.

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

St. John’s avenged a 4-2 defeat to Marquette in last year’s conference semifinals, but it would not be that easy. The Golden Eagles raced out to a 3-0 lead in the finals. After winning two of the three doubles contests, Fran San Andreas and Luke Smrek won 7-6(6) over Dusan Vukicevic and Daniel Skripnik to claim the doubles point.  Marquette would then win fifth and sixth singles to build the commanding lead.

Aditya Vashistha put St. John’s on the board with a 7-5, 6-2 win at third singles, and soon after Alan Nunez Aguilera and Andrei Crapcenco won at second singles and first singles, respectively, bringing the overall match to 3-3.

With the conference title on the line, Vukicevic took on Brett Meyers at fourth singles. After falling behind by dropping the first set 5-7, Vukicevic rallied to take the second set 6-3 and would win the third set in a tiebreak, 7-3, to bring the conference championship home to Queens.

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

Vukicevic was named the BIG EAST Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.