Women’s tennis begins season with a 9-0 loss

Allegheny College women’s tennis began its season with a non-conference game against Case Western Reserve University, ranked 20th in the country, on Saturday Feb. 27 at Pennbriar Athletic Club in Erie. The Gators were defeated 9-0.

Although the team lost, there are still high expectations for the women to succeed this season following a 14-6 record last year.

“We have had a winning record the past several years. I don’t even remember when the last time we had a losing record was,” said Head Coach Jared Luteran, who has been the coach for 13 years.

Co-captain Kirstie Oravec, ’16, hopes that the team makes improvements on fundamentals as well as winning matches.

“A goal to us is being better than last year and improving on all our strokes,” said Oravec.

The team wants to improve in anticipation of a tough competition on its spring break trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina.

“Our spring break schedule is the toughest we have had. We are playing some nationally ranked teams,” said Luteran. “It will be good for our women to play some really good teams. But they are also going to have to be ready.”

Though the Gators face tough competition in the conference, they are not discouraged from trying their best.

Oravec said the women are motivated to get better and are supportive of each other in preparation for matches.

“We have pep talks before matches to try and motivate the team,” said Oravec. “We have one with coach and then one with all players together.”

The captains are leaders on the field and offer encouragement to the team.

“I know the captains do a really good job leading the team and being encouraging. They follow one of the pillars in our philosophy statement and one of those is to always play with confidence. Believe you can beat anybody when your step onto the court,” said Luteran.

Freshman Allie Grence said Luteran always wants to help the team in any way he can.

“He personally wants everyone to be the best we can be and encourages us to put the time in,” Grence said.

This season, the experience of the team is at its peak. The Gators will be losing four seniors at the conclusion of the season.

“I mean it’s a little scary knowing you’re graduating four seniors,” said Luteran. “We’re hoping to bring in some good players next year. Younger players will have to step up.”

Luteran said younger players moving up in positions causes uncertainty for the future.

“I don’t know what to expect,” said Luteran. “It will be interesting to see how other players that have moved up in the line up from where they usually are step into those roles. It can be a little scary at first, hopefully they will adjust and be excited about playing high up in the line-up.”

On top of succeeding and working hard on the court, the team is involved off the court.

“They lead [the athletic department] in community service every year. They won the gold rush cup by supporting other teams the most,” said Luteran. “They also won the William Crawford Academic Award last year. They do really awesome things off the court.”

The women’s next game will be Sunday, March 20 against University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in Hilton Head, South Carolina.