The Allegheny men’s and women’s tennis teams kicked off the fall season with the Nancy and Heath Harvey Gator Invitational, both closing 1-1 for the weekend.
The invitational is named after a previous Allegheny assistant coach, Nancy Heath, whose family begun the invitational in her honor. When she passed away, her husband Harvey began sponsoring an invite for the team. Last spring, Harvey passed away and the Heath children have continued sponsoring the invitational in their honor.
The invitational was the first match of the fall season for the Gators and hosting it at home allowed the players to have more student support.
“The only thing that changes being home is having more people we know watching us and more student support,” Tyler Triolo, ’16, said. “We play 110 percent wherever we are.”
Triolo won doubles with partner Thomas Manning, ’16, going 8-4 against The College of Wooster. Triolo also won singles, going 6-2, 6-1 and earning the one singles win for the Gators.
Heidi Mueller, ’19, said playing on Saturday was different from previous matches she played in high school because college invitationals are four matches without a break rather than two.
“For me, adjusting my endurance levels to play four matches in a row is going to be a challenge, but something I want to improve,” Mueller said.
Mueller won 6-1, 7-6 in the number three spot for singles, followed by a 7-5, 6-2 loss.
Triolo said doing well in doubles and winning a match gives the team confidence going into the season.
“It was a very hot day and our players handled it well… Doubles play stepped up against Edinboro, who are a DII school, and our teams were able to win over them,” said Coach Jared Luteran.
Luteran said some teams came in for a preseason, but Allegheny did not. Gator’s tennis only practiced for a few days prior to the first match.
Though the teams have not had much time on the court, they have goals for the season that are pushing them.
“We are looking to be a good force in the conference and be in the top three, which is attainable but we have to work hard,” Triolo said.
In addition to team goals, the players have set individual goals for themselves.
“My goal is to use the resources I have, like good coaches and team, to improve,” Mueller said. “Practices in college are more rigorous than my high school and the team is much more dedicated.”
Triolo said if the team looks at what they did well and what they need to work on, they can build upon their skills in practice.
The women will compete in the Oberlin Invitational on Sept. 11-12 and the men will face Carnegie Mellon University on Sept. 12.