The game of tennis is all about taking it one point at a time. For the four seniors on the St. John’s tennis team, this motto has held true throughout their careers. The combination of Willie Paul, Trent Fader, Fabricio Moncada and Zach Shriwise has helped guide the Johnnies to their second consecutive MIAC playoff appearance.
Along with working well together on the court, the four seniors have also become very close during their time at St. John’s.
“I didn’t know any of them when I came here,” Shriwise said. “Coming from Kansas City, I was new to the school and the tennis system here. Getting to know these guys was a good way to be introduced to St. John’s. They’re a big part of why I’ve continued to play tennis here.”
Over the years the group has been led by Moncada, who has been a staple on the team since he arrived on campus his first year. This season he boasts a 7-1 record in the conference to go along with an 18-5 overall singles record. His 18 wins this season is the most since 1993, when two players compiled 20 wins.
“I think that on the court we are led by Fabricio (Moncada),” Paul said. “He’s one of the best players in the MIAC and one of the best players St. John’s has ever had.”
The doubles team of Paul and Shriwise has also had a very strong season as they’ve garnered a team-best 6-5 record while also going 3-3 in the conference. Along with Fader, who has contributed to the doubles team as well, the Johnnies have secured themselves a spot in the MIAC playoffs set for May 3-4.
“We want to finish out the regular season strong, and one of our short-term goals is to win a match in the MIAC playoffs,” Paul said. “We’re going to try to take it one round at a time in the playoffs and we definitely have the team to do well this year.”
Along with leaving their mark in the playoffs, the seniors would like to leave a positive impression on the team’s underclassmen.
“It’s important to have leaders on a team and I feel like the four of us have all contributed as leaders,” Fader said. “I like going to practice and making everyone work harder. I hope we’re able to pass that work ethic on to the underclassmen.”
As the end of the season and school year looms, the group is looking forward to their futures after St. John’s. Whether it be grad school or pursuing a career in the medical field, each of them has impressive plans laid out. But as exciting as the future may look, the end of their careers at St. John’s will hold mixed emotions.
“It hasn’t hit us yet because we’re in the middle of competition, but when that last match is done it will be bittersweet because we won’t be able to play tennis anymore or spend time with the guys that we’ve grown close to,” Paul said.
So as match point nears for this group of seniors, they will continue to make memories during their last few weeks on campus and attempt to end their legacy with a strong performance in the MIAC playoffs.