For the first time in the eight-year history of the Quinnipiac Invitational, men’s tennis didn’t win a singles or doubles draw on their home courts. And faced with sterling performances from UConn and Fairfield this weekend, the Bobcats didn’t even make a finals appearance.
Senior captain Brian Mikkelson looked poised for a finals run in the Flight A singles draw before falling victim to a hand cramp. Junior James Kwei was ousted in the first round of his singles match, and the three Bobcats in Flight C singles fell short of a finals bid.
“Past teams have definitely been more polished than we are now,” Kwei said, referencing the team’s Northeast Conference championship last year. “This year, we still need to find our strengths.”
Freshman Corey Morgenstern was the lone Bobcat representative in a singles semifinal. After Morgenstern won consecutive matches in the C singles draw, Fairfield’s Erik Kremheller dispatched the Long Island native 6-1, 6-2 on Sunday.
Photo credits: Joe Pelletier & Charlotte Greene
After losing his first two matches at the UConn Invitational (his collegiate debut) Morgenstern called the Quinnipiac Invitational his “breakthrough,” finally shaking off the nerves of collegiate tennis.
“It was the first real tourney where I played like me,” he said. “I’m finally starting to get used to this.”
Morgenstern battled through UConn’s Ricardo Cardona and Villanova’s Andrew Adler in straight sets to reach the semifinals, wearing the two down with grueling baseline points. Joked teammate Andrew Weeden as Morgenstern played his semifinal match: “I’d rather face death than play Corey.”
“He’ll be a solid player in this lineup,” Quitko said of the freshman. “He made a match out of what could have been a total runaway, and he worked hard.”
Cramps do in Mikkelson
Up a set and a break against UConn’s Andrew Marcus in the A Singles quarterfinal, Mikkelson encountered a familiar foe: the hand cramp that occasionally shows up at weekend invitationals.
“It’s something I’ve had to deal with my whole life,” Mikkelson said. “But it’s not an excuse – (Marcus) played a good match.”
With Mikkelson clearly handicapped on his serve, Marcus jumped back into the set and won the third set super-tiebreaker, 4-6, 7-5, 10-6.
Kwei, the other Flight A singles representative, fell in the first round to St. Peter’s Edzo Huisman 7-6, 2-6, 11-9.
Doubles stuffed by UConn
The duos of Kwei and Alex Lazerowich and Mikkelson and Andrew Weeden each snagged two wins en route to the Flight A doubles semifinal, but neither could muster a victory for a finals berth. After defeating doubles teams from Villanova and Fairfield, Kwei and Lazerowich fell to the eventual champions, UConn’s Marcus and Scott Warden, 8-6.
Villanova’s Trenton Alenik and Thomas O’Brien cruised by Mikkelson and Weeden in the other semifinal, 8-2.
In the Flight B doubles draw, both Quinnipiac teams lost in the first round. Ben Shapiro and captain Dylan Kraus lost at the hands of UConn’s Adler and Nic Visinski, 8-6. Morgenstern and Brett Francis fell to UConn’s Matt Burns and Teddy Margules, 8-4.
Photo credit: Joe Pelletier