Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled to Mercer County, N.J. last weekend to see if they could capture the NEC crown for the third consecutive year. And both teams were feeling very optimistic about a 3-peat.
The men’s team finished with a regular season record of 11-7, which earned them a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament and an opening round contest against the Monmouth Hawks. Playing both singles and doubles for the Bobcats, junior Mike Racioppo was excited about the weekend.
“There has never been a Quinnipiac team 3-peat since we became a Division I program and I am very excited to be a part of this team,” he said.
The women’s tennis team finished its regular season with eight wins and 10 losses, and was fortunate enough to have entered the tournament with a No. 1 seed. The women matched up against the Wagner Seahawks. Junior Danielle Rodriguez (singles and doubles) feels lucky to be a part of team that has won the NEC tournament the past two years.
“This is going to be a very special weekend for us,” Rodriguez said. “We can’t go in there with cocky attitudes because that’s when you lose. There is a fine line between cocky and confidence and we need confidence.”
Head coach Mike Quitko, in his 15th season at Quinnipiac, was all smiles when it was announced that his teams would be No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the tournament.
“It’s great to be a top ranked team in the conference tournament, it shows respect,” he said. “However, it is tournament time and anything can happen on any given day. I have told them the whole season to believe in themselves. The only way they can lose is if they beat themselves.”
The men’s team won their first match on Friday against Monmouth with a 4-0 victory. The Bobcats then moved onto the finals Sunday against top-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson and picked up another 4-0 victory to win the NEC tournament.
The women’s team breezed past Wagner on Friday with a 5-0 victory over the Seahawks. The women advanced to the finals Sunday and pulled out a 4-3 win over Long Island University.
Rodriguez pulled out the win at No. 6 singles in the final contest of the evening to clinch the championship point for Quinnipiac. Down 7-6 in the third set and facing a Long Island match point, Rodriguez rallied to win three sets to take the game, set, match and tournament for the Bobcats.
The title match lasted 4 hours, 50 minutes and ended 10 minutes before midnight.
“They had match point against us,” Quitko said aid. “D-Rod came up big. She was fearless. The pressure was really mounted for her as they were the only ones on the court.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams will advance to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year. The teams will have to wait until May 3 to learn who they will play in the first round of the tournament. Last year, the men’s team lost to the University of Illinois and the women’s team lost to the University of Georgia