April 11, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's tennis team will close out its regular season with a pair of matches in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley this weekend. The Mids will open the two-day trip Friday at Lafayette (3 p.m.) and end it with a Saturday match at Lehigh (10 a.m.).
Navy with take an overall record of 14-10 and a Patriot League record of 2-1 with it this weekend. The Mids are coming off of a 4-3 loss to Army Sunday afternoon in West Point. Navy rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the match at 3-3.
Individually, Blake Daniel (So., Overland Park, Kan.), Nicholas Gutsche (Sr., Sarasota, Fla.) and Peter McDonald (So., Chapel Hill, N.C.) all boast 3-0 records in singles against league foes this spring. Daniel and McDonald recorded straight-set singles wins against the Black Knights, while Gutsche lost the opening set of his match and had to overcome a 4-1 deficit in the third set before winning his contest.
Lafayette enters Friday's match with an overall record of 5-9 record on the season and a Patriot League mark of 1-3. With poor weather in the forecast for Friday, the match between the Mids and the Leopards will be held indoors at Winning Touch Tennis in nearby Allentown.
The Mids tallied a 7-0 win over the Leopards when the teams met last season in Annapolis. Navy notched wins in each of the three doubles matches and dropped just one set in sweeping the six singles contests. The Leopards return just two players from their lineup that faced Navy a year ago, while the Mids bring back four players who appeared in the match against Lafayette last season.
Lehigh has compiled a 14-4 record this season and stands 3-1 in league play. Saturday's match is slated to be contested outdoors on Lehigh's Ulrich Varsity Courts.
"Lehigh is the most improved team in the league," said Navy head coach John Officer. "Coach Wouter Hendrix has done a great job in his first year. They have been very consistent all year. We will need to be prepared for a tough fight."
Navy recorded a 7-0 win over Lehigh one year ago on The Yard. The Mids claimed wins in two of the three doubles matches before winning four straight-set and a pair of three-set singles matches from the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh returns six of the seven players who took to the courts against the Mids last season, with Navy bringing back four of its six players who faced the Mountain Hawks last year.
The Patriot League Tournament will be held April 19-21 in Hamilton, N.Y. Each of the seven teams in the league will take part in the event, with the top-seeded team garnering a quarterfinal round bye. Army enters the final weekend of the regular season atop the standings with a 4-0 record in league play.