Men's Tennis to Face Loyola; Site Change for Friday
UPDATE FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 9 A.M. -- All four of Friday's matches will be played indoors at the Tose Family Tennis Center.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. ---- The Navy men's tennis team will open play in the Patriot League Tournament Friday at 4:30 p.m. when it plays host to Loyola at the Tose Family Tennis Center in Annapolis. The match between the second-seeded Mids (20-17, 4-1 Patriot League) and the seventh-seeded Greyhounds (6-10, 2-4) will be the fourth and final quarterfinal round match contested on the day.
"It is a great opportunity for the entire league to compete against one another to see who will be champion," said Navy head coach Chris Garner, who has led the Mids to a pair of championship match appearances and one title (2015) in his two seasons. "With a chance to represent the league at the NCAA Tournament, I'm sure every team is looking forward to the challenge this weekend presents."The Mids enter the tournament winners of their last five matches, three of which were against league competition. Navy closed its regular season by posting a 4-1 victory over Army West Point April 15 in New York. The Mids won the doubles point against the Black Knights and then won three of the first four singles matches to be completed to come away with the victory over the eventual top seed in the tournament.
Earning a pair of victories in the Star Match were Zach Jennings (Fr., Snellville, Ga.) and Gabriel Pilones (Fr., Bradenton, Fla.). The duo first combined for a 6-3 win at No. 2 doubles in what was the third and final match to finish and secure the first point of the afternoon for Navy. Jennings soon gave the Mids a 2-1 lead with his 6-2, 6-3 victory at No. 5 singles, then Pilones won a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 decision at the No. 4 flight to earn the match-clinching fourth team point for Navy.
Navy won a 5-2 decision over Loyola when the teams met two weeks ago in Baltimore. The Mids won each of the three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead before winning a trio of close singles matches as well as a three-set match at the No. 1 flight.
"Loyola is a very tough team," said Garner. "They will be playing their best tennis against us on Friday. We will need to be ready."
In addition to the loss to the Mids, Loyola also lost to league foes Army (4-0), Lehigh (6-1) and Bucknell (5-2) and defeated Holy Cross (7-0) and Lafayette (7-0).
The lone previous time the Mids and the Greyhounds have met in the league tournament was in 2015 when Navy posted a 7-0 victory over Loyola in the quarterfinal round of the event.
The winner of the Navy-Loyola match will advance to Saturday's semifinal round against the winner of the No. 3 Lehigh vs. No. 6 Bucknell contest. That semifinal match is slated for a 2 p.m. start. The championship match will be played Sunday starting at 1 p.m.
Navy has advanced to the championship match of the tournament in each of the last five years (two titles) as well as in nine of the last 10 seasons (six titles). The Mids have made 16 appearances in the championship match of the tournament in the 23 seasons the current head-to-head match format for the event has been utilized and have earned 10 tournament titles.
Navy has been the No. 2 seed in the tournament on seven different occasions ---- most recently in 2015 ---- and has reached the championship match in each of those seven seasons. The Mids have posted an 18-3 record and won four titles as the No. 2 seed.
The outdoor courts on the USNA grounds adjacent to Dahlgren Hall will serve as the primary site for the tournament. Play will be moved to the Tose Family Tennis Center should weather force matches indoors.
Vehicle access to the U.S. Naval Academy is limited to those with a Department of Defense identification card. Shuttle bus service will not be available for the tournament. Those without appropriate identification must park outside of the USNA and walk through the gate one visitors center. Please note that a government issued identification card must be carried and presented by visitors ages 18 and older to the USNA prior to being allowed onto The Yard, and those ages 17 and younger without an appropriate ID must be accompanied by an adult. Visitors from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Washington State must produce their driver's license AND a second ID card before being admitted.
There are no vehicle restrictions for parking to attend matches played at the Tose Family Tennis Center.
Thursday, April 20 - First Round
1 p.m. - #8 Lafayette vs. #9 Holy Cross
Friday, April 21 - Quarterfinals
8 a.m. - #1 Army West Point vs. #8 Lafayette / #9 Holy Cross
10:30 a.m. - #4 Boston vs. #5 Colgate
1:30 p.m. - #3 Lehigh vs. #6 Bucknell
4:30 p.m. - #2 Navy vs. #7 Loyola
Saturday, April 22 - Semifinals
10 a.m. - Army West Point / (Lafayette / Holy Cross) vs. Boston / Colgate
2 p.m. - Navy / Loyola vs. Lehigh / Bucknell
Sunday, April 23 - Final
1 p.m. - Semifinal Winners