Sophomore Calvin Mark looks to lead Navy to a successful defense of its Patriot League Men's Tennis title.
Jan. 17, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The Navy men and Army women were selected as the favorites in the Patriot League this spring, it was announced Thursday afternoon. Navy topped the men's preseason poll with 70 points and 10 first place votes, while Army collected 69 points and took first on nine ballots in the women's voting.
Balloting was conducted by the League's head coaches and sports information directors. They could not cast a vote for their own teams.
Army took second in the men's poll with 63 points and the remaining four first-place votes, while Lehigh came in third with 50 points. Rounding out the list was Bucknell (41 points), Colgate (36), Lafayette (22) and Holy Cross (12).
In the women's poll, Army was trailed by Navy (65 points, five first-place votes), the team the Black Knights defeated a season ago for their ninth straight Patriot League title. Bucknell was third in the poll with 49 points, followed by Colgate (42), Lehigh (35), Lafayette (19) and Holy Cross (15).
The Navy men are coming off a season in which they finished 18-9 overall and posted a perfect 5-0 record in League play. The Mids were the No. 1 seed in last year's League tournament held in Annapolis, Md., where they advanced to the final match and bested defending champion Army 4-1 for their ninth League crown. John Officer guides the Mids from the sidelines after capturing his fifth Coach of the Year award in six years and seventh overall, while the roster features a pair of first-team All-Patriot Leaguers from last season in sophomores Calvin Mark and Peter McDonald. In addition, Mark was the 2011-12 Rookie of the Year.
The Army women won their eighth consecutive Patriot League title last season, and look to continue their near decade of dominance in 2012-13. The Black Knights swept the major awards last season as Jamila Paul was named Player of the Year, Natalie Allen earned the Rookie of the Year nod and Paul Peck was recognized as Coach of the Year. Army went 22-7 a year ago, was unbeaten in League play (5-0) and won three matches in the League tournament to secure its 12th title overall. All six of Army's All-League selections from last season are due back, led by Paul and senior Erin Colton.
On the women's side, the League might be the deepest it's been in years. Only one of last season's All-League selections was a senior, while seven of the remaining 11 positions were occupied by sophomores.
The story is very similar on the men's side, as only two of the 12 All-League selections from last season graduated, while six others were freshmen. In addition, League history was made last spring when Bucknell's Gregg Cohenca and Evan Zimmer accepted a berth in the NCAA Men's Doubles Tournament. Cohenca has graduated, while Zimmer is embarking on his senior campaign.
The Patriot League Men's Tennis Tournament is set for Friday-Sunday, April 19-21, at the Abrahamson Courts on the campus of Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. The Women's Tennis Tournament follows a week later, from Friday-Sunday, April 26-28, at the Malek Courts at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
The winner of each tournament earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The first scheduled matches of the spring are Saturday, as Navy hosts St. Francis (Pa.). The women open first at 9 a.m., and the men take the court at noon. Both Navy teams are set for action Sunday as well, with the men visiting William & Mary and the women heading to Virginia Tech. Both contests are set for 4 p.m.
Preseason Patriot League Tennis Polls
1. Navy - 70 points (10 first-place votes)
2. Army - 63 (4)
3. Lehigh - 50
4. Bucknell - 41
5. Colgate - 36
6. Lafayette - 22
7. Holy Cross - 12
1. Army - 69 points (9 first-place votes)
2. Navy - 65 (5)
3. Bucknell - 49
4. Colgate - 42
5. Lehigh - 35
6. Lafayette - 19
7. Holy Cross - 15
Returning All-League Selections from 2011-12
|Asika Isoh||Army||Jr.||First Team; Player of the Year|
|Alex Van Velzer||Army||So.||First Team|
|Peter Sienko||Army||So.||Second Team|
|Evan Zimmer||Bucknell||Sr.||Second Team; NCAA Doubles Tournament|
|Luke Gensburg||Colgate||Jr.||First Team|
|Mark Goldberg||Lehigh||Jr.||First Team|
|Ben Gilman||Lehigh||So.||First Team|
|Mitchell Peterson||Lehigh||So.||Second Team|
|Calvin Mark||Navy||So.||First Team; Rookie of the Year; Tournament MVP|
|Peter McDonald||Navy||So.||First Team|
|Erin Colton||Army||Sr.||First Team; co-Tournament MVP|
|Jamila Paul||Army||Jr.||First Team; Player of the Year|
|Margaret Iliev||Army||Jr.||First Team|
|Della Taylor||Army||Jr.||Second Team|
|Natalie Allen||Army||So.||Second Team; Rookie of the Year; co-Tournament MVP|
|Alex Petrini||Colgate||Jr.||Second Team|
|Jenai Bilmoria||Lehigh||Jr.||Second Team|
|Emani Decquir||Navy||Sr.||First Team|
|Derian Sears||Navy||Jr.||First Team|
|Stefanie Ton||Navy||Sr.||Second Team|
|Erin Snook||Navy||Jr.||Second Team|