QU tennis teams sweep NEC championships

Doug Manners

For the second straight year, the top-seeded Quinnipiac men’s and women’s tennis teams won their respective Northeast Conference (NEC) championship games in dominating fashion. The women blanked the No. 2 seed Long Island University, 4-0, while the men stormed past No. 2 seed Mount St. Mary’s, 4-1, at the Mercer County Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon. Both teams advance to the NCAA tournament as the NEC’s automatic qualifier.

Quinnipiac sophomore Andrew Chan, a two-time NEC Men’s Tennis Player of the Week this season, cruised past Drew Arbeiter, 6-0, 6-0, in No. 2 flight singles. Sophomore Stefano Salvatore and junior Greg Kreyman also won their singles matches to clinch the championship for the Bobcats. Mount St. Mary’s won the No. 1 flight singles after sophomore Mike Racioppo suffered an injury and was forced to retire in the first set.

Mount St. Mary’s defeated the Bobcats in one of the doubles matches, but Quinnipiac won the other two. Racioppo and Chan prevailed in the No. 1 doubles flight, 8-4, while Salvatore and sophomore Scott Salway won, 8-3.

“We knew that Mount St. Mary’s was going to come out and play us tough,” Quinnipiac coach Mike Quitko, the reigning NEC Coach of the Year on both the men’s and women’s sides, said. “The guys were similar to the women’s team in that it was a matter of just saying that they weren’t going to be denied.”

On the women’s side, the Bobcats took the point in doubles by winning two matches. Quinnipiac finished off the Blackbirds after senior Liz Axler put away Claudia Arteaga, 7-5, 6-3, in a tough No. 4 flight singles match. Sophomore Gabby Pasternak won at No. 1 flight singles, 6-3, 6-3, while sophomore Danielle Rodriguez made it a clean sweep at No. 6 flight singles by winning 6-0, 6-0.

“Our women’s team said that they weren’t going to be denied. They went out there, a group that was going to work hard and that played a tremendous schedule,” Quitko said.

Both the Quinnipiac men’s and women’s tennis teams will find out their respective NCAA tournament opponents on May 4. First round NCAA action begins on May 13 for the women and May 14 for the men. Last year, the men lost to Harvard, while the women were defeated by Stanford in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.