April 26, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's tennis team will play host to the Patriot League Tournament this weekend in Annapolis. The event's quarterfinal matches will be played Friday, the semifinal matches will be contested Saturday and the championship match will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The primary site for the three-day tournament will be the outdoor courts on the Naval Academy grounds. However, should poor weather force the matches to be played indoors -- and the immediate forecast for both Friday and Saturday suggests this is at the least a possibility -- they will instead be played at the nearby Tose Family Tennis Center.
There is no admission charge for fans to attend the tournament at either site. All fans attending the matches that will be played at the USNA Tennis Courts without a Department of Defense sticker affixed on their vehicle must park outside of the USNA gates and walk through the gate one visitors entrance and security checkpoint. Parking will be available adjacent to the Tose Family Tennis Center for matches being played at the tournament's indoor site.
Friday's first match of the day has No. 4 Bucknell (9-13 overall, 2-3 Patriot League) facing No. 5 Colgate (9-11, 1-4) at 9 a.m. The Bison posted a 4-3 victory over the Raiders when the two teams met earlier this season. The second match of the day will pit No. 2 Lehigh (12-7, 4-1) against No. 7 Holy Cross (1-5, 0-2) at Noon. Friday's match will be the first of the year between the Mountain Hawks and the Crusaders. The third and last quarterfinal round match features No. 3 Army (14-12, 4-2) squaring off against No. 6 Lafayette (3-11, 1-5). The Black Knights won a 7-0 decision over the Leopards in the first meeting of the teams this season.
Navy enters the weekend as the top-seeded team in the field due to it having posted a 5-0 record (16-8 overall) against league foes this year. As the tournament's No. 1 seed, the Mids will receive a quarterfinal round bye and will first play at 10 a.m. Saturday in the semifinal round of the tournament. Navy defeated both of its potential semifinal round foes Bucknell (4-3) and Colgate (7-0) earlier this season.
"We are excited to be playing host to the Patriot League Championship," said Navy head coach John Officer
. "Our major goal for the year is to be league champions. We know we will need to be aggressive in our play and looking for opportunities to attack. We need to be prepared for tough matches."
The Mids have won five of their last seven matches, with their two defeats in this recent span being a 4-3 loss to Richmond, which was Navy's fourth loss of the season by the score of 4-3, and a 6-1 setback to UMBC in the program's most recent match one week ago.
Calvin Mark (Fr., Union City, Calif.) leads Navy with a combined 13 victories over the last seven matches. He has compiled a record of 6-1 in singles and has teamed with Peter McDonald (Fr., Chapel Hill, N.C.) for a 7-0 record in doubles over this timeframe. Meanwhile, McDonald, Blake Daniel (Fr., Overland Park, Kan.) and Nicholas Gutsche (Jr., Sarasota, Fla.) all have posted 5-2 records in singles during this recent span of play.
While the Mark-McDonald tandem has recorded seven wins in its last seven doubles matches, Navy's remaining two doubles teams -- Daniel and Gutsche; Tyler Burnett (Fr., Fayetteville, Ga.) and Marcus Rebersak (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) -- are a combined 2-7 over the last seven team matches.
Navy is chasing the program's ninth Patriot League title in 19 seasons and fifth in the last six seasons. Navy's run of four straight crowns was snapped last season when No. 2 Lehigh defeated the third-seeded Mids by the score of 4-3 in the semifinal round of the tournament. The Mountain Hawks would go on to lose to top-seeded Army in the championship match of the event.
Patriot League Tournament Schedule
Friday, April 27 - Quarterfinals
#1 Navy (16-8 / 5-0) receives bye
9 a.m. - #4 Bucknell (9-13 / 2-3) vs. #5 Colgate (9-11 / 1-4)
Noon - #2 Lehigh (12-7 / 4-1) vs. #7 Holy Cross (1-5 / 0-2)
3 p.m. - #3 Army (14-12 / 4-2) vs. #6 Lafayette (3-11 / 1-5)
Saturday, April 28 - Semifinals
10 a.m. - Navy vs. Winner of Bucknell-Colgate
2 p.m. - Winner of Lehigh-Holy Cross vs. Winner of Army-Lafayette
Sunday, April 29 - Final
1 p.m. - Winner of Semifinal #1 vs. Winner of Semifinal #2