Jan. 17, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's tennis team will open its 2013 dual match season this weekend with a pair of contests. The Mids will first play host to Saint Francis (Pa.) Saturday at Noon at the Tose Family Tennis Center before playing at William & Mary Sunday at 4 p.m.
Navy posted a 6-1 victory over Saint Francis last season. The Mids return four of their five players who recorded a singles victory against the Red Flash in that match, while Saint Francis returns Juan Pardo, who won match a three-set match against Navy at No. 6 singles last season. The Red Flash went on to place fifth in the Northeast Conference last season, which was the highest placing for the team in school history.
Last year's match between the Mids and the Tribe was cancelled, but William & Mary won the most recent meeting between the teams, a 7-0 victory two seasons ago. The Tribe would post a 10-16 record during the 2012 season. That mark included 10 losses to nationally-ranked teams, as well as a 2-3 record in the Colonial Athletic Association. Individually this season, Jamie Whiteford (No. 12) and Ben Guthrie (No. 15) hold ITA Atlantic Region rankings in singles, Whiteford is ranked 106th nationally in singles and, as a duo, Whiteford and Guthrie hold both regional (No. 8) and national (No. 49) rankings.
"St. Francis is a much improved team," said Navy head coach John Officer. "We will need to be ready to play at a high level. William and Mary is very solid. We will need to be prepared to be at our very best to give ourselves a chance to be successful."
Navy enters the season as the favorite to win this year's Patriot League Championship. The Mids, who won their fifth league title in a six-year span last spring, garnered 10 of the 14 first-place votes and 70 points in all to lead the pre-season poll of the league's coaches and sports information contacts. Neither group was allowed to vote for the school they represent.
Army, which Navy defeated in the 2012 title match, received the remaining four first-place nods and accrued 63 points overall to rank second in the tabulation. Lehigh scored 50 points to place third, with Bucknell coming in fourth place with 41 points. The remaining results had Colgate in fifth place (36 points), Lafayette in sixth (22) and Holy Cross in seventh (12).
The Mids return five members of its six-man singles lineup that faced Florida in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. This includes Calvin Mark (So., Union City, Calif.), the 2012 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Peter McDonald (So., Chapel Hill, N.C.), who joined Mark in earning first-team all-league laurels last year, and Nicholas Gutsche (Sr., Sarasota, Fla.), one of two seniors on this year's team and a fixture in the starting lineup since his freshman year.