TENNIS: Tigers show potential with new talent

Posted: Feb. 23, 2015 | Updated: Feb. 24, 2015 | Written by Alexis Naucler

Riverside City College men’s tennis team moved over .500 after defeating a short-handed Mt. San Jacinto College Eagles team on Feb. 18.

The Eagles were down two players, giving default victories to RCC freshmen Grady Harrell in a singles match and Mathieu Willcockx and Antoine Voisin in a doubles match.

The Tigers were boosted by the return of Julian Sciapno, who hadn’t played in two to three months due to academic ineligibility, according to RCC assistant coach Carlos Vazquez.

Sciapno dominated the first match of the day by winning 6-0, 6-0.

“I was very proud of him because he’s been wanting to play for the last two or three months and he struggled with his grades a little bit, but he finally came over and he did great,” Vazquez said.

With this year’s team consisting of eight freshmen, Vazquez believes the team’s five sophomores can carry the team and teach the eight freshman the concept of camaraderie, helping to come together as a team.

RCC sophomore Patrick Stetco contributed victories in both singles and doubles with partner Conner Stephenson, also a sophomore.

“The goal is for (the freshmen) to learn that so they can also teach once they become sophomores,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez is coaching the men’s team, along with interim coach Nikki Bonzoumet, while head coach Jim elton recovers from a head injury.

“I think the team is maturing,” Vazquez said. “The team is learning.”

The Tigers, who moved to 4-3, will begin conference play Feb. 24 against Cypress College at home.