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Tennis teams aiming for NEC three-peat
The Quinnipiac University men’s tennis team is looking to get back to the success it’s used to having after losing to Fairleigh Dickenson on March 24.
The team was shocked by the loss – its first against an NEC opponent in nearly three years – after taking the first three points. The decisive fourth point was won by the Knights’ Justin Seow, who beat Quinnipiac junior Stefano Salvatore in a No. 3 singles match that lasted three hours and 25 minutes.
Coach Mike Quitko believes the team just wasn’t ready for that type of competition.
“We weren’t ready for someone in our conference to challenge us and they did,” Quitko said.
Quitko said that it wasn’t only the team’s overconfidence in the match. He gave credit to the way FDU played Quinnipiac, the two-time NEC champions.
“When you’re the champs, you walk around with a target on your back,” he said.
Unfortunately for Quinnipiac, Fairleigh Dickinson nailed the target. Quitko believes, however, that the team can take a positive outlook on the loss.
“Sometimes, losing can help you grow,” Quitko said.
He also made it clear that the loss isn’t devastating. The men are still in contention for the conference tournament, and Quitko believes the loss is insignificant if the Bobcats can defeat Fairleigh Dickinson in the NEC tournament later this month.
Junior Mike Racioppo has the same idea as his coach.
“I’ve got my eyes on the conference title,” said Racioppo, who did his part by taking home NEC Player of the Week honors on March 23.
The women’s team is getting noticed by the conference as well. Junior Gabby Pasternak was named Player of the Week two weeks ago for the second time in three weeks.
“I think Gabby is by far the best player in the conference and she might be the best woman I’ve ever coached,” Quitko said.
Pasternak wasn’t the only Quinnipiac women’s player be honored with the award recently. Sophomore Amanda Petruzzi took the award last week.
Jacky Herb and Kasey Rosenberger are two notable freshmen on the women’s team. Both are playing well, though Herb said there’s always room for improvement. Rosenberg recognizes the type of competition at the college level.
“I like it,” Rosenberger said. “It makes us want to work harder.”
The women’s team has won five of its last seven matches, including its NEC opener Sunday, when it blanked Wagner, 7-0.
The men’s also defeated Wagner, 7-0, to improve to 2-1 in NEC action.
Both teams are looking towards the conference tournament, and both were overwhelming favorites in the NEC preseason coaches’ poll to win the NEC title for the third straight year.
The players don’t believe that it puts any added pressure on them, though.
“It isn’t really pressure, it’s more of an expectation,” Herb said.