Navy Women's Tennis Prepares to Open Fall Season
Team captain Darien Sears
Sept. 11, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy women's tennis team will compete in a pair of tournaments this weekend to open its fall invitational schedule. Half the team will compete at the Stony Brook Invitational and the other half will compete at the Quinnipiac Invitational. Both tournaments will run from Friday to Sunday.
The Mids posted their best season to date during the 2012-13 season. Navy set a school record for wins with its 25-5 record and reeled off a school-record 17 wins in a row. Navy also advanced to a third straight Patriot League final. Navy finished the season ranked No. 10 in the ITA Atlantic Region poll.
"While we had a good year, it was not complete," sixth-year head coach Keith Puryear said. "You can never really rest on your laurels and I think we still have a whole lot to accomplish. I don't want us to sit back and just feel good about what we did last year. We have to keep working hard and keep pushing it. That's been the focus of the fall so far."
Navy will compete in five events this fall and Puryear is looking forward to getting the most out of the fall competition schedule.
"We use the fall as sort of a developmental season," said Puryear. "We have to make sure we get everybody on the same page, particularly the plebes who have no collegiate experience, and give them an idea of the level of play they are going to face."
Sears, the team captain, went 20-11 in singles play last year with a 14-5 mark at No. 3 singles. She was also 11-5 at No. 3 doubles. Snook was 24-10 last year in singles and was 15-3 while playing at No. 2 singles. She also played at No. 1 doubles. Snook is Navy's career leader in singles wins with a record of 71-28.
"It's great to have those two [Sears and Snook] to provide some leadership to the younger players," Puryear said. "They are two that really let their rackets do the talking and they've done that since the time they've come in. We really expect them to take hold and lead by example for the younger players."
Navy also returns two other singles starters in sophomores Logan Antill (Butler, Pa.) and Katie Porter (Matthews, N.C.). Antill set a Navy record with 25 singles wins (25-13) and 48 combined wins (48-25). She was 12-7 at No. 4 singles, while Porter was 9-3 at No. 6 singles.
Junior Noelle Kaufmann (Westlake, Ohio) and sophomore Sam Droop (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) also return after starting in Navy's doubles lineup last fall. Kaufmann played at No. 1 doubles and Droop played at No. 2.
Junior Gabby Winter (Orlando, Fla.) also returns after missing the 2013 spring season. Winter was 13-4 at No. 5 singles in 2012 and was 10-8 at tournaments in the fall of 2012 before suffering an injury.
"We expect all of the returning players to step up and play the role they are going to be asked to play throughout the year," Puryear said. "The returning players learned quite a bit last year. Now we need them to come back and begin to use and utilize all the things we have suggested to them."
The Mids also welcome five freshmen and one sophomore to the program. The six newcomers hail from California (2), Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Navy competed at the Stony Brook Invite in each of the last four years. Last fall, Antill and Winter reached the finals of the doubles B Flight. Winter reached the finals of the singles C Flight and Droop reached the finals of the D Flight. Navy won a total of 21 singles matches and seven doubles matches over the three-day tournament.
This is the first year that Navy will compete at the Quinnipiac Invitational.
Following the Stony Brook and Quinnipiac Invites, Navy will host the Bill & Sandra Moore Invitational at the Tose Family Tennis Center at the Brigade Sports Complex in Annapolis from September 20-22.
The Mids will also host the Navy Blue & Gold Invitational from Oct. 11-13 before competing at the ITA / USTA Atlantic Region Championship in Charlottesville, Va. from Oct. 18-23.