Serving up perfection: Undefeated, Men’s tennis prepares for tough matches

By Islam Ahmed
Contributing Writer
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The Allegheny College Men’s Tennis team currently maintains an undefeated 10-0 record, their most recent victory being a dominant 8-1 performance over conference opponent Ohio Wesleyan last Saturday.
The Gator’s flawless start puts them only six more matches away from a perfect season. Head Coach Jared Luteran approached this season differently than in past years, keeping the line up more consistent—particularly in doubles. He has been confident in his team from the beginning.
“I expected to have a good year because I knew we had a good mix of sophomores and juniors in our lineup,” said Coach Luteran. “I felt like we could definitely compete with anyone on any given day. When you have great leaders on the team it makes a tremendous difference.”
Among these leaders is the first singles player and captain Patrick Cole, ’14. Cole has been more inspired this season after a disappointing sixth place finish in last year’s conference tournament. He has also made it a priority to instill a similar work ethic in his teammates.
“I try to lead by example on and off the court,” said Cole. “Tennis is a unique sport because of both the team and individual aspects, so if we can get everyone locked into the mentality of giving it everything match in and match out, we can create a very strong team dynamic.”
The team’s joint and individual efforts have paid off thus far, yet they face their most difficult opponent yet in Case Western Reserve University today. Ranked thirteenth in the nation and second in the central region, Case Western 17-5 record and is coming to Meadville on a two-match win streak.
“They are very good. Our guys will all have to step up and play their best tennis to pull off the upset,” said Luteran. “If my players believe in their abilities the same way I believe in their abilities then they should be able to compete with anyone. They just have to believe.”
Kirstie Oravec, a member of the Allegheny College Women’s Tennis team which has also enjoyed a stellar 8-2 season, admires their dedication and flawless record.
“I think it’s a huge accomplishment, I see how hard they work at practice,” Oravec said. They have worked very hard to be undefeated and the teams they have played are very good.”
Although the Gators are underdogs heading into the matchup, fellow captain Alexander Hurtuk, ’15, is sure the team has what it takes to come away with a win. He knows his team’s potential when they are mentally prepared.
“We will really have to be focused if we want to stay undefeated for the year,” said Hurtuk. “Case is a very tough team, but I feel confident heading into the matchup as long as we approach the match with the focus that we’ve had this season. If we have a good approach to the match, then I think we can do better against them than we have the past few years.”
The past few years have gone in Case Western’s favor, including a 0-9 loss by Allegheny last year.
“Case is a very tough team and they have beaten us every year I’ve been here, so we’re fired up for that match to try and get some revenge,” said Cole. “They’re a highly ranked team nationally, so we’re really excited.”
The match is scheduled to go off at 4:30 p.m. at Robertson Complex this afternoon.