The men’s tennis team will be in a dogfight every match. They will not win on talent alone, but must rely on work ethic and depth to be successful.
A solid finish last season (loss in Northeast Conference semifinals) should be helpful to help Quinnipiac realize what it has to do to win.
“I’m excited by the way last season ended,” Coach Mike Quitko said. “We don’t have the level of talent to blow through people, but we have learned to fight our way to success.”
The Braves lost two of their top six competitors to graduation. Now the team lacks experience, which could be their biggest weakness. Senior Captain Ryan Bean, will lead a team featuring four new players and two older players who must step up and compete for starting roles.
“These guys have a lot of potential,” said Quitko, who is entering his eleventh year as head coach. “(Freshman) Fabian Villacis lacks experience, but has the desire to succeed. The same can be said for Mike Madar and Tony Consalvo, the two other freshmen.”
Four spots will be secure in the order. Junior Jeff Gallardo and sophomore Eric Raymundo will join Bean and senior Dave Noonan. All four will work at the top of the singles order. Juniors Justin Lucht and Brian Tenehaus will compete with incoming sophomore Seth Hanapole and the other newcomers for the remaining two singles spots.
The doubles teams will be shaken up depending on injury (Noonan currently has a back injury), but he still practices. Currently, Raymundo and Bean are holding the number one doubles title, while Lucht and Villacis are at the two spot and Hanapole and Tenehaus play at the third spot.
“With this team, I expect to be top four in the conference, hopefully better,” said Quitko. “Though we lack experience, our work ethic and balanced skills should help us succeed.”
The fall season begins with the Bloomberg Invitational in Pennsylvania. Early action can be seen at home against Siena and Rhode Island before the team competes in the Connecticut Invitational. The spring season opens against Central Connecticut, which is later followed by four home games before the NEC Championships.
“We continue to improve,” Quitko said. “From where we are now to the end of the season we should look like two different teams. We just can never stop working.”
If the season goes according to plan, this team will quickly gain experience and learn how to win. Talent is always great to have, but heart and desire can not be taught. This team may surprise and have both.