Men's Tennis Sweeps Lafayette in League Quarterfinals

Asika Isoh

Asika Isoh

April 27, 2012

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Army men’s tennis advanced to the Patriot League Tournament semifinals for the 19th consecutive season following a 4-0 win against sixth-seeded Lafayette on Friday afternoon. Playing at Navy’s Tose Family Tennis Center in Annapolis, Md., the third-seeded Black Knights bounced the Leopards out of contention for the second time in four seasons.

With wind gusts at nearly 30 miles per hour, the match was moved indoors. Army (15-12, 4-2 PL) struck first, winning the doubles point for the 12th time this season, including the second time against Lafayette (5-12, 1-5 PL).

Freshmen duo Peter Sienko and Alex Van Velzer returned to their winning ways by leading off with an 8-1 victory over Will Mercorella and Scott Gelbman at No. 2. The Army duo, who lost three of their final four matches of the regular season, earned their second win of the year over a pair from Lafayette. At 9-7, Sienko and Van Velzer list third among Black Knight doubles teams this season.

Sophomore Asika Isoh moved into a tie for 12th on Army’s single-season doubles wins after teaming with classmate Henry Jang-Milsten for their point-clinching victory at No. 1. Isoh and Jang-Milsten defeated Doug Gallagher and Andrew Morris, 8-3, for Isoh’s 16th win of the dual season. Jang-Milsten remains closely behind as the triumph was the 15th of the spring for the sophomore.

Sienko and Jang-Milsten continued their successful day into singles play. Sienko defeated Morris, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 5 to push the Black Knights’ lead to 2-0, before Jang-Milsten brought the Army win within reach after topping James Oliver, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 4. Sienko jumped to 13-10 this spring while Jang-Milsten moved to 9-15.

Junior Rashad Shelton provided the clinching point for Army. Shelton knocked off Gelbman, 6-1, 6-3, at No. 6 to secure the 4-0 victory. The win was Shelton’s 10th of the spring, becoming the fourth Black Knight to reach double-digit wins.

Army swept Lafayette for the second time this season and third time in postseason history. The Black Knights improve to 34-3-2 all-time against the Leopards, including 23 consecutive victories.

The Black Knights will face No. 2 Lehigh in the second of two semifinal matches on Saturday, slated for 1 p.m. Lehigh defeated No. 7 Holy Cross, 4-0, in the day’s second quarterfinal contest to advance.

The Mountain Hawks defeated Army, 5-2, in the regular season. The Black Knights are 6-0 against Lehigh in Patriot League Tournament matches. The two teams battled in last season’s title match with Army prevailing 4-2 to win their 10th conference title and seventh since the team format was instituted in 1994.  

Army is 17-1 all-time in the Patriot League semifinals, with the lone setback coming in 2002 against eventual-champion American. Army and Lehigh last met in the semifinals in 2010, with the Black Knights capturing a 4-1 victory.

No. 3 Army 4, No. 6 Lafayette 0
Doubles
1. Isoh, Asika/Jang-Milsten, Henry (A) def. Gallagher, Doug/Morris, Andrew (L) 8-3
2. Sienko, Peter/Van Velzer, Alex (A) def. Gelbman, Scott/Mercorella, Will (L) 8-1
3. Holland, Alex/Verano, Rommel (A) vs. Goldstein, Brandon/Oliver, James (L) 6-6, DNF
Order of finish: 2,1
Singles
1. Isoh, Asika (A) vs. Gallagher, Doug (L) 6-4, 4-3, DNF
2. Van Velzer, Alex (A) vs. Goldstein, Brandon (L) 7-6 (7-4), 4-3, DNF
3. Holland, Alex (A) vs. Mercorella, Will (L) 6-3, 3-3, DNF
4. Jang-Milsten, Henry (A) def. Oliver, James (L) 6-2, 6-2
5. Sienko, Peter (A) def. Morris, Andrew (L) 6-1, 6-0
6. Shelton, Rashad (A) def. Gelbman, Scott (L) 6-1, 6-3
Order of finish: 5,4,6

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