May 11, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy men's tennis team will make its fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last six years Saturday when the Midshipmen play at No. 12 Florida. The Noon match between the teams will be contested in Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, Fla.
The winner of the Navy-Florida match will advance to the second round where it will face either No. 24 Harvard or No. 45 Virginia Tech. The first-round match between the Crimson and the Hokies will be played Saturday at 9 a.m., with the winners of Saturday's two matches squaring off Sunday at 2 p.m.
Links to live scoring from all of the matches being played this weekend at the venue can be found at NavySports.com.
"We are excited to return to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year absence," said Navy head coach John Officer, who this week received his league-record (for the sport) seventh coach-of-the-year nod. "The fact that we start four freshmen makes it very special."
Navy, 18-8 this season and winners of the program's ninth Patriot League title, will be making its sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament since the field was expanded to 64 teams prior to the 1999 season. The Mids qualified for the national tournament that initial year and made four consecutive appearances in the championship from 2007-10.
Two current Mids have NCAA Tournament experience to look back on. Team captain Marcus Rebersak (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.), who earned first-team all-league honors this season, played two singles and one doubles match for the Mids when they made trips to the championship in 2009 and `10, while Nicholas Gutsche (Jr., Sarasota, Fla.), who was named to the Patriot League All-Academic Team this year, was part of the Navy singles and doubles lineups two seasons ago as a freshman when Navy played at Virginia in the tournament.
The remainder of Navy's starting lineup, Tyler Burnett (Fayetteville, Ga.), Blake Daniel (Overland Park, Kan.), Calvin Mark (Union City, Calif.) and Peter McDonald (Chapel Hill, N.C.), are all freshmen.
In addition to the aforementioned honors garnered by Officer, Rebersak and Gutsche, Mark was selected as the MVP of the Patriot League Tournament and as the league's rookie of the year, while McDonald joined Rebersak and Mark in earning first-team all-league honors.
Saturday's match will be the second between the Mids and the Gators in the NCAA Tournament. Florida previously posted a 5-0 victory over Navy during the 2008 championship, but not before the Mids had a great opportunity to win the doubles point from the Gators that day. The two teams split the first two doubles matches to be completed before Florida recorded an 8-6 win at the No. 3 flight to secure the point.
The Gators, who earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, placed third in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference this season with a 7-4 record and have compiled an overall record of 14-9 this season. Florida's tentative starting lineup boasts four singles players and two doubles teams with national rankings.
"Florida is very good and poses a great challenge for us," said Officer. "We will need to be aggressive from the first ball and look to dictate play. It is important not to overplay in this situation."
Harvard (22-2) advanced to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Ivy League title, while Virginia Tech (11-11) received an at-large bid to the championship.
Tentative Lineup (National / Regional Rank) (W-L)
1 - Calvin Mark / Peter McDonald (28-3), Navy vs. (14/2) Billy Federhofer / Nassim Slilam (25-15), Florida
2 - Tyler Burnett / Marcus Rebersak (0-4), Navy vs. (64/-) Spencer Newman / Bob van Overbeek (6-1), Florida
3 - Blake Daniel / Nicholas Gutsche (9-8), Navy vs. Michael Alford / Andrew Butz (2-2), Florida
1 - Marcus Rebersak (14-14), Navy vs. (42/7) Bob van Overbeek (20-15), Florida
2 - Calvin Mark (28-7), Navy vs. (53/6) Nassim Slilam (21-13), Florida
3 - Peter McDonald (21-8), Navy vs. (48/10) Tripper Carleton (24-10), Florida
4 - Blake Daniel (21-9), Navy vs. (66/8) Spencer Newman (31-9), Florida
5 - Nicholas Gutsche (19-10), Navy vs. Florent Diep (11-9), Florida
6 - Tyler Burnett (12-11), Navy vs. Michael Alford (25-5), Florida