April 27, 2014
FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. - The St. John's men's tennis team made its first appearance in the BIG EAST Championship finals in 19 years a memorable one as the top-seeded Red Storm defeated No. 3 DePaul, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for its first conference title since 1991 and the third in program history.
After taking the first set 6-2, junior Erick Reyes was up 5-2 and 40-15 in the game in the second set before sending a backhand shot to send SJU to its first ever NCAA Tournament.
St. John's (16-7, 2-0 BIG EAST), who only let one point slip away the entire tournament, was once again propelled by its doubles play as the Red Storm sealed the doubles point for the 10th-consecutive match. Sophomore Michael-John Every and freshman Robert Livi struck first with an 8-3 win at third doubles before sophomores Vaidik Munshaw and Lucas Hejhal fought off DePaul's Filip Dzanko and David Vieyra with an 8-5 decision at the top slot.
Livi and Munshaw each posted stellar performances to start off singles with straight set wins at fifth and fourth singles, respectively. Reyes and freshman Freddy Ruiz Acevedo at the No. 6 slot were neck and neck in claiming the clincher after each won their first sets. Reyes finished first and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after going 3-0 in doubles and 2-0 in singles over the last three days.
The win gave head coach Eric Rebhuhn, who already has a 2011 BIG EAST Coach of the Year honor under his belt, his first conference championship in 19 years of coaching, 13 of them coming at St. John's. The program is now 3-13 all-time in the final of the BIG EAST Tournament.
"I've coached for 19 years and winning my first conference championship is a blessing for me and this program," said Rebhuhn. "This team had a passion to win this from the very beginning of the season and they will represent the University well in the NCAA Tournament in the coming weeks."
The Red Storm will see who it plays in the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, April 29 at 5 p.m. which will be carried live on NCAA.com. This year's tournament will take place on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia and will run from May 15-26.
No. 1 St. John's 4, No. 3 DePaul 1
1. R.J. Del Nunzio (SJU) vs. Filip Dzanko (DPU) 4-6, 5-3, unfinished
2. Erick Reyes (SJU) def. Sten Leusink (DPU) 6-2, 6-2
3. David Vieyra (DPU) def. Lucas Hejhal (SJU) 6-3, 6-2
4. Vaidik Munshaw (SJU) def. Joshua Schramm (DPU) 6-0, 6-2
5. Robert Livi (SJU) def. Paul John (DPU) 6-0, 6-2
6. Freddy Ruiz Acevedo (SJU) vs. Kyle Johnson (DPU) 7-6, 5-1, unfinished
1. Vaidik Munshaw/Lucas Hejhal (SJU) def. Filip Dzanko/David Vieyra (DPU) 8-5
2. Erick Reyes/R.J. Del Nunzio (SJU) def. Sten Leusink/Kyle Johnson (DPU) 8-6
3. Michael-John Every/Robert Livi (SJU) def. Adam Reinhart/Jan-Willem Feilzer (DPU) 8-3
No. 3 DePaul 11-14, 2-2 BIG EAST
No. 1 St. John's 16-7, 2-0 BIG EAST
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (5,4,3,2)