Tennis No. 2 Seed for NCAC Tournament

Mike Provenzano, ‘13, is 5-4 this spring playing in the second spot for the Gators. Photo by Charlie Magovern/The Campus

By Dan Marcus

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The Allegheny men’s tennis team defeated Oberlin and Wooster over the weekend to earn the No. 2 seed in the East Division of the NCAC. They will face Wittenberg in the first round of the tournament today.

Last Friday, the Gators bounced back from a 2-1 deficit against Oberlin after doubles to sweep the singles matches and win 7-2. Head coach Jared Luteran credits his team for staying focused after a disappointing doubles performance.

“Rather than letting the losses snowball, we bounced back and got wins in singles matches to regain the momentum,” said Luteran. “That definitely helps.”

On Saturday, the Gators swept the Fighting Scots 9-0 to clinch the No. 2 seed. Luteran found the doubles play to be a good turnaround from the day before against Oberlin. Though several singles games were tightly contested, the Gators prevailed in all the matches. The fast start was a big difference in the matches between Oberlin and Wooster.

“We focused on what we did not do well against Oberlin, and to go up 3-0 on any team is a huge advantage,” freshman Patrick Cole said. “It takes a lot of pressure off.”

Cole had another strong weekend going 2-0, defeating Logan Chun of Oberlin 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 and Landon Moore 6-1, 6-0. Despite a first-set loss to Chun, Cole said he just refocused on playing smart and slowly wore down his opponent. These wins improved his record to 16-4 in singles play this year. To honor his performance from the weekend, Cole was named NCAC player of the week for the second time this spring.

Looking ahead to the conference tournament this weekend, the Gators will face Wittenberg in the first round. Last year, the Gators ousted them 5-1 in the first round. The Gators are fairly familiar with the Tigers’ lineup, with three of four players returning from last year.

To repeat that this weekend, Luteran said his team will have to get off to a fast start. He wants his doubles teams to get higher on the net quickly, which forces the opponent to make tougher shots.

If the Gators get past Wittenberg again, they will face the winner of the Denison/Wooster match on Friday afternoon. Defeating Denison has been a season-long goal for the Gators.

“We have been working toward this all year,” said Cole. “We are fired up to come out this weekend and play well.”