The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Blue Demon Dynasty: DePaul men’s tennis wins third title in four years

Ryan Hinske
DePaul junior Sven Moser addresses the media after a practice Thursday, April 25, at the Sullivan Athletic Center, shortly after returning from the team’s Big East championship victory in Cayce, South Carolina.

DePaul men’s tennis has won the Big East championship again, re-establishing themselves as the top team in the conference after coming up short last year.

The Blue Demons are establishing themselves as a dynasty in the Big East, winning three of the last four conference championships under the leadership of DePaul’s second-longest current tenured coach, Matt Brothers, who is in his 17th season in Lincoln Park.

“These guys are just really hungry,” Brothers said. “I’m just super proud of those guys. It’s a team effort and culmination of all of the ups and downs throughout the season, overcoming some adversity and lots of self improvement, and being ready for that moment is what the season is all about.”

On Monday, April 22, DePaul defeated Saint John’s University 4-2 to win the Big East title. This victory capped off a Big East tournament weekend in Cayce, South Carolina, where DePaul first defeated Villanova University and Georgetown University to advance to the final. DePaul’s first-ever title came down to the wire against St. John’s in 2021, when the Blue Demons edged a 4-3 victory.

“I would say it’s a rivalry,” junior Mattei Iaquinto said of playing St. John’s. “We don’t get to play during the regular season because of scheduling stuff, so when we get to compete against each other, it’s sort of personal.”

The competition started with St. John’s winning the doubles point before DePaul nearly swept the singles points, winning four of the five matches and asserting dominance over the tournament’s one-on-one battles.

In the previous two tournament matches, DePaul only gave up two points on the singles courts, finishing the tournament 11-3 in singles competition. Brothers talked about how DePaul faced adversity against Georgetown, going down in the doubles competition and fighting back.

“We planned on winning the doubles point,” Brothers said. “We didn’t, so that made what happened in the finals that much easier for these guys, because they’ve been in that same scenario two days before, down the doubles point, having to fight against a good team in singles, and they got it done.”

Even after their dominant tournament run, the team has remained focused on the next level. The NCAA will announce the schedule for the national tournament Monday, April 29. As DePaul awaits their schedule, they are looking into the future rather than the past.

“The goal was not just to win the conference tournament, but to progress in … the NCAA tournament,” Brothers said. “These guys have shown a lot of fight … Everyone has to be there, everyone has to believe, everyone has to know the potential that they have in themselves.”

Even after winning the Big East men’s tennis championship Most Outstanding Performer for his championship-clinching singles win to close out the final, Iaquinto said little has changed and his mind is set on what’s next.

“Life goes on as usual, nothing special,” Iaquinto said. “I’m feeling excited for what comes next. It definitely won’t be an easy challenge, but I feel like with the work we’re going to put in, we can all be ready for what’s next.”

DePaul has established a dynasty in the Big East, remaining so confident in conference play that they are collectively set on new heights: they want to be national champions. Graduate Vito Tonejc, who has won all three championships in 2021, 2022 and 2024 with DePaul, discussed what it takes to build a conference dynasty.

“First of all, consistency,” Tonejc said. “And then just commitment … this comes from the beginning of the season … it’s a product of everything we have done this whole year.”

For Tonejc and other players like graduate Leon Huck, this season’s success has extra meaning because it is their last.

“I hope to continue being as determined and taking all these challenges with me and all this growth I took in college into real life,” Huck said. “Life is a journey. It’s not done after this.”

After the 5 p.m. central time selection show for the NCAA tournament on Monday, competition begins May 3, with the national championship set for May 19 at Stillwater Tennis Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma.


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