Navy Edged by Army in Men's Tennis
April 12, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Victories at the bottom four spots in the singles lineup allowed Army to rally for a 4-3 victory over the Navy men's tennis team Saturday afternoon at the USNA Tennis Courts in Annapolis. It is the fifth-straight year, the ninth time in the last 10 seasons and the 14th time in the last 21 years in which the final score of the Star Match between the teams has been 4-3.
"I thought, overall, we played well," said Navy associate head coach John Moreland. "Our doubles teams came out firing on all cylinders, but then it took us a little while to settle into the singles matches. The guys really battled. We did all we could and gave all we had. Hats off to Army; they played a very good match and were able to get the job done."
The day began with each of Navy's (15-9, 2-2 Patriot League) three doubles teams taking early leads over their respective Army (16-4, 6-0) opponents to give the Mids the doubles point. Navy's No. 1 tandem of Austin Jones (So., Dallas, Texas) and Thomas Pecor (Fr., Houston, Texas) won the first three games of its match against Harrison McCormick and Grant Riechmann on its way to winning the match, 8-1. Navy's No. 3 tandem of Alex Gaines (So., Wilmington, N.C.) and Krishna Jana (Fr., Seabrook, Texas) held a slim 3-2 advantage over Henry Jang-Milsten and Peter Sienko before going on to post an 8-4 win to secure the doubles point for the Mids.
In the remaining match, Navy's No. 2 duo of Blake Daniel (Jr., Overland Park, Kan.) and Calvin Mark (Jr., Union City, Calif.) held a 5-2 lead over Asika Isoh and Alex Van Velzer only to have the Black Knights close to within 6-5 when the match was stopped due to the doubles point being decided.
"That's the best we have played doubles all year," said Moreland. "Our guys came out and were able to get early breaks in all of the matches. They played unbelievable, were focused and very competitive. The tide turned a little and we had to battle a bit at two and three, but we did a very good job to close things out, earn the doubles point and gain what we thought was some momentum heading into singles."
The team winning the doubles point entered the day having won 24 of the last 28 Army-Navy matches, but also was just 4-3 in the last seven matches between the teams.
The Black Knights quickly tied the match at 1-1 when Van Velzer posted a 6-2, 6-1 win over Gaines at No. 6 singles. Army then extended its lead to 2-1 as McCormick defeated Jana, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 5 singles, before Mark tied the score at 2-2 as he completed a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 win over Isoh at No. 1 singles. However, Army regained the lead when Caison Best posted a 6-4, 6-3 win over Pecor at No. 4 singles.
The remaining two matches were each extended into three sets, and were played on adjacent courts. Jones rallied after dropping the first set of his No. 2 singles match to Sam Lampmann by the score of 6-1 to win the second and third sets by scores of 6-4 and 6-3, respectively, and tie the overall team score at 3-3. Not more than one minute after Jones and Lampman shook hands, Riechmann and Daniel headed to the net after Riechmann closed out the proceedings on the day with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 win over Daniel.
"Army did a good job of taking back the momentum very early in singles play," said Moreland. "They gained a quick win at six, and that got their crowd back into it. We had to fight our way back into it, but we were able to do just that.
"I couldn't ask anymore of our guys. They all fought hard right down to the very end. The teams were, once again, separated by a point or two here and there in many of the matches."
Navy will conclude its regular season next Saturday when the Mids play host to Lehigh.
Army (16-4, 6-0) def. Navy (15-9, 2-2), 4-3
Doubles -- Navy wins the doubles point (1-3)
1 - Austin Jones / Thomas Pecor (Navy) def. Harrison McCormick / Grant Riechmann (Army), 8-1
2 - Blake Daniel / Calvin Mark (Navy) led Asika Isoh / Alex Van Velzer (Army), 6-5 (unfinished)
3 - Alex Gaines / Krishna Jana (Navy) def. Henry Jang-Milsten / Peter Sienko (Army), 8-4
1 - Calvin Mark (Navy) def. Asika Isoh (Army), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
2 - Austin Jones (Navy) def. Sam Lampman (Army), 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
3 - Grant Riechmann (Army) def. Blake Daniel (Navy), 7-5, 2-6, 6-3
4 - Caison Best (Army) def. Thomas Pecor (Navy), 6-4, 6-3
5 - Harrison McCormick (Army) def. Krishna Jana (Navy), 6-4, 6-3
6 - Alex Van Velzer (Army) def. Alex Gaines (Navy), 6-2, 6-1