May 9, 2014
QUEENS, N.Y. – The 2014 BIG EAST Champion St. John’s men’s tennis team is set to open play in its first NCAA Tournament in program history on Saturday, May 10 at 12 p.m. when the Red Storm takes on No. 14 Florida (15-9, 8-4 SEC) at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, Fla.
For the Red Storm (16-7, 2-0 BIG EAST), tomorrow’s matchup with the Gators will be their first action since topping DePaul, 4-1, in the BIG EAST Tournament Final on April 27 to win its first conference title since 1991.
The winner of the 12 p.m. match between the Red Storm and the Gators will face the victor of the 9 a.m. match between South Florida and Florida State. Overall, the SJU faced six opponents in the tournament field during the regular season (Penn State, Marist, Drake, Cal Poly, George Washington, Harvard).
Florida earned an at-large bid to the 64 team field for the 23rd consecutive season after finishing No. 15 in the ITA Rankings and falling to Texas A&M, 4-2, in the SEC Tournament Finals on April 20. Saturday’s match will only be the second-ever meeting between the two programs. Florida topped SJU, 7-0, in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Jan. 27, 2013.
SJU added multiple BIG EAST honors to its already historic campaign on Thursday as three student-athletes and head coach Eric Rebhuhn were recognized by the conference. Junior Erick Reyes, sophomore Vaidik Munshaw and freshman Robert Livi earned All-BIG EAST honors, while Livi was also named BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and Rebhuhn was tabbed as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
Rebhuhn, who was also named the conference’s Coach of the Year in 2011, took a team that went 5-15 last season and returned only one starter and turned them into conference champions. After a regular season in which the Red Storm was ranked as high as No. 62 in the nation, the Red Storm entered the BIG EAST Tournament as the No. 1 seed. SJU only surrendered one point the entire tournament en route to its third BIG EAST Championship in program. The Red Storm’s 5-2 victory over Niagara on April 13 marked Rebhuhn’s 150th win as head coach of the St. John’s men’s tennis program.