By Emerald Wright-Collie
Men’s tennis faced off against Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan this past weekend in Delaware, Ohio. The Gators (9-4) won in convincing fashion, sweeping both squads on consecutive days to push their win streak to three. Standout Pat Cole, ’14 was named NCAC Player of the Week for a record breaking performance in the matchups.
“I think the fact that we have a lot of veterans on the team has contributed to our success this year,” said Head Coach Jaren Luteran. “The leadership and experience we have in matches is very valuable.”
After falling to Wittenberg in the NCAC conference tournament last season, the team avenged their loss with a 9-0 victory Friday night. The Gators swiped all three doubles matches away from Wittenberg, as juniors Sam Stephenson and Alexander Hurtuk won their match 8-3. Cole and Tyler Triolo, ’16, won their match by a score of 8-5. Allegheny finished off their doubles domination with an 8-4 win by Daniel Conroy, ’15, and Thomas Manning, ’16.
Entering the singles matches against Wittenberg, Cole took control, winning in a tie-breaker (7-1) 7-6 (7-2). He continued his dominant effort with a 6-0 victory in the second set. In doing so, Cole cemented his place in the Allegheny history books by breaking two all-time records. His 75 career singles wins and 220 combined career wins make him the school leader in both categories.
“I used last year’s heartbreaker as motivation for this match,” said Cole. “I was thrilled with my results personally and the team’s as a whole.”
Conroy also won his singles match, 6-2, 6-1. Triolo and Murphy took their singles matches 7-5, 6-3 in second singles and 6-1, 4-1 in fourth singles, respectively. Thomas Manning was forced to three sets in his singles match, but walked out as the victor with a final score of 4-6, 6-1, 10-7.
“Last year we lost to Wittenberg 5-4 in the conference tournament, and this year we swept them 9-0,” said Kevin Snyder, ’14. “That improvement is great to see at this point of the year.”
The Gators squared off against Ohio Wesleyan the next day, again winning in decisive fashion 8-1. The doubles team kick started the rout, winning two out of three to open the day. Stephenson and Hurtuk won their match by a score of 8-4, while the combination of Frank Mosconi, ’14, and Conroy topped Ohio Wesleyan’s duo 8-2.
The team swept all six singles matches against the Battling Bishops with victories by Charlie Murphy, ’14, Hurtuk, Manning, Conroy, Mosconi and Cole.
“Anytime we play a conference opponent our entire team is really fired up,” Cole said.
The team hopes to carry their momentum as they enter the final stretch of the season.
“These wins give us some confidence heading into our last couple of weeks of matches,” Snyder said.
A home matchup against Penn State Behrend was postponed on Tuesday, and the Gators will be back in action Friday with a double-header against Franciscan and Washington and Jefferson.