Picturesque skies, a light breeze, plenty of sun, and just enough clouds made for a great weekend of tennis at the Quinnipiac Invitational.
Eight schools from around the region flocked to Hamden for the three-day Quinnipiac Invitational, in which over 90 matches were played.
“The weather was spectacular the entire weekend and it really made for a pleasant, easy-to-run tournament because we put on an awful lot of matches and it’s so much better when the weather cooperates like this,” Quinnipiac head coach Mike Quitko said.
Not only did the Bobcats host a good tournament, they played one as well. Senior Adrienne Markison reached the semifinals in the top flight of the singles bracket. While freshman Juliet Labarthe, competing in her first career college singles tournament, took down the Flight B Championship.
Also making the Flight B semifinals was sophomore Sarah Viebrock and in Flight A doubles competition, the team of Rachel Cantor and Markison fell one round short of the finals.
After the first event of the year, Quitko said his team performed very well and was very pleased with where they are at this point in the season.
“I really felt that we competed well, played the game right, made the correct choices, and had success against some good competition,” Quitko said.
Labarthe showed great skill throughout the tournament in the Flight B bracket and made easy work of Rhode Island’s Kirsten Leikem in the finals, 6-0, 6-0. Labarthe smashed her forehand to all sides of the court, resulting in 14 winners, nine from the forehand side.
The decisive game came with Labarthe up 1-0 in the first set. The two played through five deuce points until Labarthe cracked a cross-court, forehand winner to take the game. It was Labarthe’s first career tournament victory in her first singles event.
Markison started the tournament strong on Saturday, taking down Fordham University’s Angelica Dabu in her first match. After winning the first set, the senior fought back from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to win the match, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Dabu made it difficult for Markison, who was forced to make some tough shots after long rallies. Down 5-2, Markison held her serve and started her comeback by jumping on the Dabu serve and smashing cross-court groundstrokes. Evening the score at 6, the set went into a tiebreaker which Markison jumped to a 6-2 lead and won the match on Dabu’s backhand error.
Quinnipiac’s Viebrock, Cantor, Labarthe, Lavinia Cristescu, Lisanne Steinert and Erin Suvar also won their opening round match in singles events.
Competing in her second match of the afternoon, Markison dominated Elizabeth Harrington of Sacred Heart to reach the semis, 6-2, 6-1. Markison kept the pressure on and fought to claim the first set. In what was a pivotal third game, Markison fell behind 15-40 on her serve. After a strong serve and backhand down the line earned her a deuce point, she ended a long rally on a forehand that forced Harrington’s return into the net. A backhand winner, one of 13 in the match, sealed the game and Markison rode the momentum to a spot in the semifinals.
Coming back out to play Sunday morning, Markison competed but came up just short of the finals against Seton Hall’s Pui Wing Sher. After losing the first set 6-1 and the score deadlocked at two, Markison reeled off four straight games to take the second set, 6-2. Down 6-5 in the tiebreak, Markison nearly evened the score after being down three points, but Sher made back-to-back saves on her service points to thwart Markison’s effort. On the two consecutive points, after long rallies, Markison blasted passing attempts as Sher approached the net. Sher countered with drop shots that fell just out of Markison’s reach and went on to win the tiebreaker, 10-5.
In doubles action, the team of Cantor and Markison won its first two matches on Friday in the Flight A bracket before bowing out in the semifinals Saturday, while the Steinert and Cristescu team won its opening round match in Flight B play.
The Bobcats will compete in another three-day event, the Eastern Collegiates, starting Friday and will hope to build on their success from the Invitational.
Photo credit: Alessia Tranfaglia