The Quinnipiac men’s and women’s tennis seasons both came to an end this weekend at the Northeast Conference Tournament at the Mercer County Tennis Center in Mercer County, N.J. The No. 2 seeded women’s team lost in the Northeast Conference Championship to No. 1 seeded Fairleigh Dickinson University, 4-2, while the men lost to Monmouth, 4-2, in the semifinals.
“Generally, I am extremely proud and impressed with both my teams,” Quinnipiac tennis head coach Mike Quitko said. “We asked two simple basic things; did you give enough effort, and besides the effort level, what about the shot selection, intellect?”
Despite the loss, the Bobcats were led by juniors Sarah Viebrock and Rachel Cantor.
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“We lost to FDU in the regular season 7-0, so basically they rocked us,” Viebrock said. “Then coming into the tournament we knew that we didn’t play them to our fullest potential and we were kind of hungry to come back and win and knew that after a 7-0 loss, it would be a big deal to come back.”
The Bobcats were unable to win the doubles matches as the No. 2 pair for Quinnipiac, Michelle Dassa and Jacqueline Raynor lost 8-2. The No. 3 flight could do no better, as Lavinia Cristescu and Ariana Launie lost the match 8-1. The No. 1 pair of Cantor and Viebrock trailed 6-3 when the doubles flights were stopped.
Dassa and Raynor are a freshmen duo who experienced their first high pressure situation at the collegiate level, but they performed under pressure, according to Cantor.
“It was just amazing to see the girls understand what NECs mean,” Cantor said.
On the singles side, Viebrock won her match 6-1, 6-1 to record the first point for the Bobcats and her 102nd career win. Cristescu recorded the second point for the Bobcats registering two 6-0 wins in a three-set match.
“We started off bad. We got together and I remember telling them they have to go for their shots and not be afraid to lose and they listened,” Quitko said. “They went out and started hitting and it wasn’t necessarily our best kids on the team winning, everyone was coming out ahead, and we needed four out of six points that were left, but we played another team that was quite good.”
The Knights recorded their fourth and final point in the sixth match of the day during the singles round.
“In tennis no matter how much you’re winning by, the match is never over until it’s actually over.” Viebrock said. “There is so much room to come back.”
On the men’s side, the No. 2 Bobcats beat Robert Morris in the quarterfinals, but failed to reach the conference finals after making a championship appearance each of the past two seasons.
“We had a tough one in the quarterfinals,” Alex Lazerowich said. “But we came into Monmouth in the semifinals and we beat them 4-3 in the regular season without the doubles point. I think some people got a little relaxed just assuming we would win the match. We might have had a little bit of a mental lapse there.”
Quinnipiac took the game’s first point in the doubles. Andrew Weeden and James Kwei won the No. 1 flight and Lazerowich and Chris Nelson then won, 8-6, for the doubles point.
Despite the success of the doubles, only one Bobcat singles match came out on top, while Monmouth collected four wins to win the semifinals.
“I think the men played an outstanding match against Monmouth,” Quitko said.
Kwei, the lone senior on either Quinnipiac team, had the only singles win for the Bobcats. Kwei finishes his career with 127 wins.
“Unfortunately, sometimes there is another player on the other team on the other side of the court and they are trying to win also,” Quitko said.