Tennis stumbles in spring season debut

The women’s tennis team opened up their spring season Feb. 20 with a loss to Division II school Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).

This match was not originally on the schedule, but because a different team cancelled on IUP, they contacted Allegheny.  With a rainout from last season, the Gators were permitted to play another match, according to NCAA rules.

“I told the ladies to just go out, and play hard, and have fun because there was no pressure on them to win,” said Coach Jared Luteran.

“I personally think it’s fun to know you’re the underdog and then get out on the court and give the team a challenge,” said Janna Dickerson, ’12.

Dickerson and Megan Oravec, ’10, grabbed singles match victories while the doubles team of Margaret Hodgkiss–Lilly, ’11, and Deb Landau, ’12, also claimed victory.  As a whole, the team fell 6–3 to IUP.

“As a team, we really wanted to win this match,” Ovarek said. “We also wanted to use it as an opportunity to see what we are doing well and what we still needed to work on in terms of both our mental and physical games.”

With only a few weeks of practice following the winter break, Luteran and his players were satisfied with the performance at the match.

“I was actually pleased with how we played even though we came out on the losing end,” Luteran said. “We saw a lot of fight in the ladies and we gave them some very tough matches.”

Because of NCAA rules, teams are not allowed to have formal practices during the offseason. However, captains Sara Longo, ’11, and Lauren Kristofco, ’11, organized lifting and training to prepare the athletes for the spring season after winter break.

“It can be a bit of a challenge to get back into the mindset of playing a match after a couple months off,” Dickerson said. “I thought the whole team came out and battled hard.”
“Everyone on the team has been working really hard and we are all excited for the conference season to start,” Oravec said.

After a fourth place finish in the North Coast Athletic Conference last year, the Gators are looking to improve.

“We lost a lot of matches by only one point the last few years and I think this match really showed us what we need to improve on both personally and as a team,” Oravec said.

“We would love to crack into first or second in the conference since Kenyon and Denison has had those two spots locked up for about 20 years,” Luteran said.

After a three–week hiatus, the women’s tennis team will face off next against John Carroll on March 13.