St. John's Men, Women Prepare for Big East Championships

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via St. John's University Athletics:

After closing out the regular season with one of its most dominant wins of the year, the St. John’s men’s tennis team (10-14) aims to win its fourth-consecutive BIG EAST championship as the No. 2 seed at the conference tournament this weekend. Play kicks off on Thursday, April 27, and continues through April 30 at the four-day conference tournament played in Cayce, S.C.

Despite a perfect conference record in 2017, the Red Storm enters the tournament with the No. 2 seed, the first time the team hasn’t been ranked first since the BIG EAST realigned to an eight team league in 2014. St. John’s won both of its conference matches this season.

One of those two conference victories came in their season finale against Villanova. The Johnnies swept the afternoon in a breezy 7-0 victory to bring their win total to 10 for the spring. Villanova earned the sixth seed in the tournament.

The Red Storm will open up play on Friday morning with a 9 a.m., tilt against No. 7 Georgetown, a team that the Red Storm beat 4-0 back in March. A victory in that matchup would put the team in the semifinals Saturday morning against either No. 3 Butler or No. 6 Villanova.

A win in the semifinals would put St. John’s in the championship match Sunday morning. The tournament also features a consolation bracket for those teams that drop opening-round matches.

Senior Roberto Livi has an opportunity to win conference titles in all four years of his collegiate career, a unique accomplishment in the sport.

Livi, who cracked the Orcale/ITA National Singles Rankings this season at No. 123, has played against top competition at the No. 1 singles spot all year long. Despite the tough schedule, the senior came out with a 6-5 winning record and owns a victory over ranked-Cornell opponent No. 62 Chris Vrabel.

Alan Nunez Aguilera and Dusan Vukicevic have been the most consistent doubles team for the Johnnies this season as the pair owns a 7-4 record on the year. 

After one of the most successful regular seasons in program history, the St. John’s women’s tennis team (16-3) will begin play at the BIG EAST Championships as the top seed for the first time ever this weekend, April 27-30, in Cayce, S.C.

The Red Storm earned their No. 1 ranking after finishing undefeated in conference play this spring, going 6-0 against BIG EAST opponents. The team also held a perfect conference record in the regular season last year.

Last season, St. John’s earned the No. 3 seed after Head Coach Lauren Leo guided her team to 13 regular season wins. They defeated Seton Hall before losing to No. 2 Xavier in the semifinals.

The Johnnies begin the road to their first BIG EAST Championship with a first round bye. They will face the winner of the matchup between Creighton and Butler at 12:30 p.m., on Friday afternoon.

If they win, St. John’s will play in the semifinals 24 hours later, part of the jam-packed tournament schedule that also includes the men’s tournament. The women’s championship match will take place on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., should the Johnnies win their second match as well.

The Red Storm is no stranger to playing multiple tennis matches in one weekend. In addition to the three-day long FGCU Spring Invite that kicked off the team’s dual-match season, they routinely played multiple matches over one weekend, including a pair of split doubleheaders that they hosted in their first two weekends this spring.

The tournament also features a consolation bracket for teams that lose their opening match.

A conference championship would already add to an historical season for St. John’s. Earlier this season, Leo set the coaching record for most wins through the first two seasons, and the team’s 16 wins are the highest total since 1989-1990.

Freshman Jessica Livianu and senior Anna Morozova enter the BIG EAST Tournament red hot having played their best tennis throughout the majority of the regular season. The duo is a perfect 19-0 in doubles action this season, playing all of their matches at the No. 1 spot. Livianu and Morozova are also a perfect 6-0 in doubles play against conference opponents this season.

On the singles side, Livianu, the team’s No. 1 option, has enjoyed an impressive 15-2 record while playing in the No. 1 spot. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native is 9-1 in her last 10 matches.

Morozova, who has played the majority of her singles slate at the No. 2, is 15-3 overall and 7-2 in her last nine.

Olaya Inclan Solis and Zofia Stanisz have been equally as impressive in doubles action, racking up a 9-1 record when playing together primarily at the No. 3. This duo has won seven-straight entering postseason play.

Fans can visit the 2017 BIG EAST Championship central page here for more information about the four-day tournament played in Cayce, S.C.