April 28, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's tennis team posted a 4-1 victory over Bucknell Saturday in the semifinal round of the Patriot League Tournament in Annapolis. The win advances the top-seeded Mids into Sunday's championship match where the Midshipmen will face Army. The title tilt will begin at 1 p.m. at the USNA Tennis Courts.
The top-seeded Mids (17-8), who had four freshmen making their Patriot League Tournament debuts Saturday, had to overcome losing the doubles point to the fourth-seeded Bison (10-14) today. After Bucknell's No. 2 tandem of Josh Katten and Evan Zimmer recorded an 8-3 win over Navy's duo of Tyler Burnett (Fr., Fayetteville, Ga.) and Marcus Rebersak Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.), the Bison secured the doubles point with an 8-5 victory by their No. 1 team of Gregg Cohenca and Aiden Lynch over Calvin Mark (Fr., Union City, Calif.) and Peter McDonald (Fr., Chapel Hill, N.C.). The defeat by the Mark-McDonald team was just the second in 24 matches by the duo this spring.
Bucknell's Scott Bernstein and Kelly Morque also held a 6-5 lead over Blake Daniel (Fr., Overland Park, Kan.) and Nicholas Gutsche (Jr., Sarasota, Fla.) at No. 3 doubles when play was stopped.
The doubles result meant that the Mids had to win four of the six singles matches to win the match. It was the same situation Navy found itself in when the Mids faced Bucknell earlier this season in Lewisburg. The Mids would go on to record a 4-3 victory over Bucknell on that day.
"We are playing well in singles right now," said Navy head coach John Officer. "Bucknell played very well today, especially in doubles. Calvin and Peter have a great record this season as a doubles team and we are looking for them to have a big day tomorrow."
Navy started off strong in singles today as the Mids won the first set in five of the six matches. Gutsche would place Navy's first team point on the board as he won a 6-2, 6-1 decision over Jon DeFranchese at No. 5 singles. A few minutes later, Burnett completed a 6-2, 6-2 win over Gregory Maxson at No. 6 singles to give Navy a 2-1 advantage. McDonald took the Mids to within one point of the overall victory with his 6-4, 6-4 win over Katten at No. 3 singles, with Mark soon thereafter ending play with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Zimmer at No. 2 singles.
Navy also held leads over Bucknell in the two matches that were left unfinished. Rebersak was leading Cohenca, 7-5, 5-4, at No. 1 singles, while Daniel held a 4-6, 6-1, 2-0 advantage over Morque at No. 4 singles.
"I am really proud of the way we came back today after losing the doubles point," said Officer, "especially with as young of a team as we have."
Army, the No. 3 seed in this year's tournament, advanced into Sunday's championship match with a 4-0 win over No. 2 Lehigh.
This is the 19th season in which the Patriot League has utilized a head-to-head match format to determine its league champion. Sunday will be the 12th time Army and Navy will have met in the title match.
Navy posted a 4-3 victory over Army when the two teams met on April 14 in Annapolis.
"We are going to have to play really well Sunday," said Officer. "We need to get things going in doubles and continue with how we have been playing in singles. We will need all of the players to be at their best tomorrow."
No. 1 Navy (17-8), def. No. 4 Bucknell (10-14), 4-1
Doubles -- Bucknell wins the doubles point (2-1)
1. Cohenca, Gregg / Lynch, Aiden (BUCKNELL) def. Mark, Calvin / McDonald, Peter (NAVY) 8-5
2. Katten, Josh / Zimmer, Evan (BUCKNELL) def. Burnett, Tyler / Rebersak, Marcus (NAVY) 8-3
3. Bernstein, Scott / Morque, Kelly (BUCKNELL) led Daniel, Blake / Gutsche, Nicholas (NAVY) 6-5, unfinished
1. Rebersak, Marcus (NAVY) led Cohenca, Gregg (BUCKNELL) 7-5, 5-4, unfinished
2. Mark, Calvin (NAVY) def. Zimmer, Evan (BUCKNELL) 6-4, 6-4
3. McDonald, Peter (NAVY) def. Katten, Josh (BUCKNELL) 6-4, 6-4
4. Daniel, Blake (NAVY) led Morque, Kelly (BUCKNELL) 4-6, 6-1, 2-0, unfinished
5. Gutsche, Nicholas (NAVY) def. DeFranchese, Jon (BUCKNELL) 6-2, 6-1
6. Burnett, Tyler (NAVY) def. Maxson, Gregory (BUCKNELL) 6-2, 6-2