Men’s Tennis Draws No. 8 Seed in BIG EAST Championship

NEW YORK-The seeds and schedule for the 2022 BIG EAST Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championship presented by JEEP were announced by the conference office on Monday afternoon and the Villanova men (3-14) drew the # 8 seed. This year’s conference tournament will take place this Thursday, April 21 through Sunday, April 24 at the Cayce Tennis & Fitness Center in Cayce, SC

Seeds are determined by the BIG EAST tennis championship and coaches’ seeding advisory committees that review each team’s regular season schedule, ITA rankings, results against BIG EAST and common non-conference opponents and wins / losses against ranked foes. Villanova will begin play on Friday morning at 9 am when it faces # 1 seed St. John’s (15-5) in a quarterfinal round matchup. The winner of that match will advance to the semifinals and face the winner of a match between # 4 seed Butler (12-10) and # 5 seed Georgetown (7-11).

The quarterfinal match between the Wildcats and the Red Storm will be the first meeting of the season between the teams. Villanova most recently played St. John’s in a road match in Queens last season on March 31, 2021. The longtime BIG EAST foes last met in the conference tournament during the 2017 season when they faced each other in the back draw following the quarterfinal round.

Returning to a full Fall and Spring schedule this year after two COVID-shortened seasons has been easier said than done for the Wildcats, who had a successful Fall campaign but have seen their Spring season repeatedly interrupted by delays due to inclement weather and other postponements. Villanova was most recently supposed to wrap up the regular season with a Tuesday afternoon home match against Rider before that competition was canceled due to rain. Two other dual matches in recent weeks were halted and ultimately canceled while they were in progress.

Despite the start-and-stop nature of the Spring season, the Wildcats tallied regular season wins over Jefferson, Coppin State and Loyola (Md.) While getting contributions from nearly its entire roster. Sophomore Ryan Nguyen (Oakton, Va.) led the team with six dual wins during the Spring season and has a team-high 17 wins overall in singles play on the year. He has seen the majority of his time in the No. 6 spot in the lineup, where he is 5-7 this year and 12-10 in his two-year collegiate career. Senior Matthew Jones (Dallas, Texas) has also been a steady performer for Villanova this year, going 16-14 overall in singles matches and picking up five dual wins in the No. 4 lineup spot.

One of the up-and-coming prospects on the Wildcats roster is freshman Trey Fourticq (Los Angeles, Calif.), who played in the top half of the lineup all Spring and ranks third on the team with 12 singles wins on the year. He played one match at No. 1 singles and won matches in both the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. Sophomore Josh Robinson (Potomac, Md.) has been another consistent player for Villanova with 11 wins overall, including four dual victories at No. 1 singles against Coppin State, UC San Diego, Loyola (Md.) and Drexel.

The trio of junior Justin Suarez (Manila, Philippines)junior Alex Kim (Cary, NC) and sophomore Anthony Prokurat (Manalapan, NJ) each played at least nine dual matches this season. Kim and Prokurat each recorded two victories at No. 5 singles, while Kim and Suarez are tied with eight wins overall in singles matches this season.

During the dual competition season three different doubles teams won at least three matches. Jones and Suarez were 3-2 at the No. 1 doubles spot and 4-2 overall playing together this season, while the pairing of Fourticq and Prokurat produced a team-high five doubles wins in dual competition. They won three of those matches in the No. 2 spot and were also 2-1 at No. 3 doubles. During the second half of the season the team of Robinson and Winton came on strong, going 3-3 overall while playing exclusively at No. 3 doubles.

There are eight men’s teams and 11 women’s teams competing at this week’s BIG EAST Championship. The Villanova men were the # 6 seed in the conference tournament last year and lost a 4-1 decision to # 3 seed Marquette in a closely-contested match which saw three of the four singles matches to be completed go to three sets.

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