Quinnipiac men’s tennis defeated by Fairleigh Dickinson 5-2


Peyton McKenzie

Quinnipiac men’s tennis drops to 1-4 on the spring season following Sunday’s loss to Fairleigh Dickinson.

Ryan Raggio, Staff Writer

NORTH HAVEN, Conn – Quinnipiac men’s tennis hosted Fairleigh Dickinson in the teams’ first matchup since 2017 looking to rebound after a tough loss to Delaware, but would come up short Sunday, falling 5-2. 

The doubles point is something that head coach Bryan Adinolfi believes is very important. Despite senior Kemal Karagozoglu and junior Shaurya Sood winning their set, the Bobcats dropped the remaining sets and ultimately lost the doubles point. 

Karagozoglu and Sood withstood a strong attack from their opponents. Much like their match against Merrimack, Karagozoglu stood tall at the front of the net, gaining points for the pair. The set winner for the Bobcats came when Sood leapt backwards and smashed the ball across the court and out of the reach of their opponents. 

Juniors Ayato Arakaki and Donovan Brown ran a two person backline scheme that at times proved to be effective, but wouldn’t be consistent enough as they lost the match 6-3. Graduate student Andreas Whalen-Merediz and freshman Csanad Nyaradi fell to the same score as well. 

Whalen-Merediz played his second match of the season after dealing with tendinitis in his knee. Although he may not like it, he feels that the time off allowed him to heal not only physically.

“It was a good feeling to play again because sitting on the sideline is boring, but it was quite refreshing,” Whalen-Merediz said. “Competition gets a bit mentally tough.” 

The Bobcats showed flashes with clutch backhand saves and impressive rallies, but Fairleigh Dickinson was the stronger team in the doubles matchups.  

Following a tough doubles match loss, Arakaki immediately started his singles match, playing in the number one spot. For the junior, having the right mindset is everything. 

“Even if you lost the doubles match, I just say ‘Let’s go and get this one,’ for singles,” Arakaki said. “Moving on is the important thing.”

The Weil Tennis Academy product had a strong start to the match, taking a 2-1 game lead in the first set. His returns were sharp and showed the ability to control the rallies at his pace. Arakaki’s opponent would counter on small mistakes, took the momentum and took both sets 6-3. 

At the halfway point of all of the singles matches, it was clear to see that yesterday’s matchup against Delaware had taken its toll on Quinnipiac. Adinolfi said that some players were nursing injuries throughout the weekend, however the Bobcats did get Whelan-Merediz back in action despite noticeable discomfort in his knee.

Quinnipiac kept it close in the singles matches, but couldn’t shut the door. What hurt the team most was having to return a serve. The Knights served missiles from the backline that caused the Bobcats to miss the ball or hit it into the net. Karagozoglu, Sood and Nyaradi lost their singles matches, giving Fairleigh Dickinson the match victory. However, Quinnipiac wouldn’t go quietly. Brown and Whalen-Merediz went into a 10-point tiebreaker to determine the winner of their respective matches. Brown has had some gutsy wins this season, especially his win against Merrimack. He is most effective from the backline, his tall frame helping give him more power with his returns. The New York native took a commanding 5-0 lead in the tiebreaker which set the tone for the rest of the match, ultimately winning 10-6. 

Whalen-Merediz’s opponent had him on the brink of defeat in the second set, but he found a way to grind his way to a set victory, pushing the match into a 10-point tiebreaker. The London, England, native plays a slower paced game where he can methodically plan out his attack. 

“I think I’m a counter-attacking player,” Whalen-Merediz said. “Sometimes I like to save my energy so I’m not going all out. My main focus is to switch it up. One point I’m playing a bit slower with a few slices and the next point I try to bomb down an ace.” 

With everyone in the building watching the final match, Whalen-Merediz remained cool and didn’t let it get to him when he was down. 

“Honestly, I like when my teammates are watching, especially Shaurya. Sometimes when I’m nervous I just look at him and he’s giving me a smile or something. But I was down the whole match so I didn’t feel too much pressure, I just played it point-by-point.”

Quinnipiac will hit the road for Saturday’s matchup against Hofstra at 4 p.m. Adinolfi believes the team is headed in the right direction following the weekend’s tough matchups. 

“I think it’s really important to see how we respond mentally after two losses,” Adinolfi said. “If we can recover, get back up and bring the intensity for practice, we’ll be ready for the long season.”