Quinnipiac men’s tennis back in win column with 5-2 victory over Merrimack


Peyton McKenzie

Quinnipiac men’s tennis was picked third in this season’s MAAC coaches’ poll.

Ryan Raggio, Staff Writer

NORTH HAVEN, Conn – The Quinnipiac men’s tennis team looked to break its two-game skid with a win over Merrimack Saturday night, and succeeded. History repeated itself as the Bobcats won the match 5-2 and remained undefeated against the Warriors in the programs’ second ever meeting. 

Senior Kemal Karagozoglu and junior Shaurya Sood played at the No. 1 doubles spot. The match went back and forth with each team trading game wins until the score was tied 6-6. Sood manned the backline while Karagozoglu’s six-foot-four frame towered over the front of the net. 

“My main goal is to always be the big man out there,” Karagozoglu said. “Just attack, be aggressive, use my size and my arm length. I just try to dominate and not let the opponents control the game.”

“Boom,” as his teammates call him because of his devastating shot, did just as he said. His mountainous presence at the net helped earn the Bobcats points whether it be from a high-rising backhand smash or a side lunging return directed the opposite way. Boom and Sood took the match 7-6. 

Juniors Ayato Arakaki and Donovan Brown, along with sophomore Yasha Laskin and freshman Csanad Nyaradi won their doubles matches 6-4, completing the Bobcats clean sweep in the doubles matchups. Quinnipiac took the doubles point, the first time they’ve done so all season. New head coach Bryan Adinolfi expressed his satisfaction after winning the important point. 

“It feels good to win,” Adinolfi said. “We’re going to take some confidence from our doubles play today and hopefully throughout the next few matches try to get our confidence with doubles. The doubles point is big if we want to have a chance of winning the conference.”

Arakaki continued his strong performance with a singles point after defeating his opponent 6-2 and 6-4. The Saitama, Japan native remains at the No. 1 spot for Quinnipiac as he is now 2-2 in singles play this season. His quick but methodical pace on the court helped him slice his way to victory. After losing the first set, Brown came back to win the match in the tiebreaker 10-4. Brown has shown in the past that he has grit and he can now add this gutsy victory to his resume. 

Sood had a tough matchup at the No. 2 spot. After winning the first set 6-4, he couldn’t put away his opponent in the second, something he normally excels at doing, and lost 7-5. 

“It’s usually quicker out of the gate for me because I don’t like playing three sets,” Sood said. “I have a quicker game style which is to get to the net, but it wasn’t working today.” 

Sood put his blood, sweat and tears into the matchup, literally. After dropping a game he showed his racquet some tough love and focused himself despite his knuckle gushing. Being back on Quinnipiac’s home court in North Haven and having the team with him the whole way helped Sood push to the finish line and earn the victory with a 10-6 win in the tiebreaker. 

“I was getting tired, but I had my boys behind me so I knew I could do it,” Sood said. 

Karagozoglu went into, what would be the deciding match for the entire meet, a tiebreaker.  Despite dropping the second set and having a tendency to “boom” one beyond the back line, he kept his composure in the high pressure situation. 

“I just try to look at my teammates and smile with them to loosen up a bit,” Karagozoglu said. “I was looking at Vir (Sood) and Andreas (Whalen-Merediz) and they helped me relax and get in my groove.” 

Karagozoglu won the tiebreaker 10-7 and won the match for Quinnipiac. 

The Bobcats can get a good night’s rest as they remain home until next week’s contest where they will host Delaware Saturday at 6 p.m. in North Haven. A meeting that Adinolfi has a strong message for. 

“We’re just going to keep grinding,” Adinolfi said. “ We’re going to practice the same way and give it our best shot.”