March 3, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – The spring portion of the 2012-13 tennis season is in full swing, and the first Patriot League monthly awards have been announced.
Army freshman Harrison McCormick was named the Patriot League Male Tennis Player of the Month after going unbeaten at both singles and doubles, combining for an 11-0 mark in the month of February. Colgate senior Merideth Rock was similarly unbeaten during February and was honored as the Female Tennis Player of the Month.
One of the main storylines of late January and February in the Patriot League were the hot starts for several teams. The Colgate women opened the season 5-0 for their best start since 2007-08, with Rock leading the way with a combined 10-0 mark. The Navy women started the season 12-3 through the end of February, and finished the period with 10 straight victories. Army, the defending women’s champion, won six of its first nine matches entering March.
On the men’s side, the hottest team is Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks were 7-1 through the end of February and are riding a six-match win streak. They’ve shut out a pair of opponents and won two other matches by scores of 6-1.
The first Patriot League matches are coming up in short order. The first bouts are set for Saturday, March 9 when both Lafayette squads head north to visit Colgate.
Patriot League Tennis Awards (February)
MALE TENNIS PLAYER OF THE MONTH
FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER OF THE MONTH MERIDETH ROCK, COLGATE Sr., Kansas City, Mo.
HARRISON McCORMICK, ARMY Fr., Berwyn, Pa.
McCormick went 5-0 at singles and 6-0 at doubles to combine for an 11-0 record during the month of February. He was responsible for Army’s sole point in the Black Knights’ 6-1 loss at No. 56 Arkansas in the season opener Feb. 1 when he picked up a 7-5, 2-6, 10-6 victory over Peter Thomason at No. 6 singles. He played the rest of the month at the fifth flight, winning in straight sets three times and being pushed to a third by Marist’s Fredrik Bjerke before taking the win with a 6-3 victory in the final frame. McCormick won five doubles matches with Asika Isoh and a sixth with Caison Best.
Rock has been a big reason for Colgate’s best start to the spring in five years, dominating at either the No. 5 or 6 positions for the Raiders. In her five singles match victories, she’s been pushed to three sets just once, has shut out two opponents and given up just one game in the remaining two. She battled back from down a set Feb. 16 against Marist to earn the win with scores of 6-2 and 6-1 in frame Nos. 2 and 3. Rock has teamed exclusively with Kelsey Shea at No. 2 doubles and picked up a 5-0 record.
JAMILA PAUL, ARMY Jr., Bulverde, Texas
Posted a 15-4 combined mark to open the spring, including a 9-2 record at doubles across all three flights, primarily at Nos. 1 and 2. Rallied to defeat Connecticut’s Maxene Weinberg at No. 1 singles in three sets.
NICK BYBEL, BUCKNELL Fr., Lancaster, Pa.
Out to an impressive start in his rookie season, with a 5-2 record as the Bison’s top singles player. All five wins have been in straight sets. Has held opponents to two games or fewer in eight of 14 sets this spring.
MARIA CIOFFI, BUCKNELL Fr., Williamsport, Pa.
Went 4-1 for the Bison, mostly at No. 1 doubles in February. Teamed up with Elena Vidrascu to go 3-1 at the top position with wins over Pittsburgh, Niagara and St. Bonaventure.
LUKE GENSBURG, COLGATE Jr., Glencoe, Ill.
Went 5-1 for the Raiders at No. 1 singles and 3-2 at No. 1 doubles with one unfinished match, teaming with three different partners. Each of his five wins at singles have been in straight sets.
MITCHELL PETERSON, LEHIGH So., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Went 7-1 at singles across the Nos. 2 and 3 flights. Six of his wins were in straight sets. Also went 4-4 at No. 1 doubles with Mark Goldberg.
AUSTIN JONES, NAVY Fr., Dallas, Texas
Posted a 9-3 singles mark in January and February, primarily at Nos. 2 and 3 singles. Lost in a third-set tiebreaker to Dante Terenzio of No. 67 Old Dominion Feb. 17.
DARIEN SEARS, NAVY Jr., Silver Spring, Md.
Went 7-2 in January and February in singles, including five straight wins to finish the month. Has swept each opponent in her seven wins.
Patriot League Notebook
HOT START FOR COLGATE WOMEN
It’s been seasonably chilly in Hamilton, N.Y., in the spring season’s early going, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case for the Colgate women, who are out to their best start since 2007-08 with a 5-0 record. The Raiders extended their win streak with a victory over Marist Feb. 16, and are playing some of their best tennis in recent years at just the right time. After a short break in the schedule, the Raiders are gearing up for the League opener Saturday, March 9 when they welcome Lafayette.
LEAGUE PLAY ON THE HORIZON
Speaking of Colgate and Lafayette, those two teams will do battle in the first League match of the 2013 spring season in upstate New York next weekend. Most of the matchups between League foes are scheduled for later in March and April in the weeks leading up to the Patriot League Tournaments. One of the interesting League battles coming up later this spring is the first regular-season tilt between the Army and Navy women, which is scheduled for April 7. The Black Knights have defeated the Mids for the Patriot League title each of the last two seasons, but that April 7 matchup will be the programs’ first during the regular season.
ARMY WOMEN, NAVY MEN PICKED TO DEFEND
The Navy men won their fifth Patriot League title in six years at the 2012 Patriot League Tournament in Annapolis, Md., and the Mids were named the favorite to repeat in the preseason poll of the head coaches and sports information directors. It’s the same story on the women’s side, as the Army women, winners of eight consecutive League championships, were named the preseason favorite as well. The Navy men picked up 10 first-place votes and 70 points, followed by Army with 63 points and four first-place ballots. It was a little tighter on the women’s side, with Army taking 69 points and nine first-place ballots and Navy receiving 65 points and five first-place votes.
With the calendar having turned to March, the Patriot League Tennis tournaments are not far off. The men will play first with all seven teams going head-to-head Friday-Sunday, April 19-21 at the Abrahamson Courts on the campus of Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. One week later, Friday-Sunday, April 26-28, Army will host the women’s tournament at the Malek Courts in West Point, N.Y. Both are full-field events with the top seed earning a bye into the semifinals.