April 27, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The top-seeded Army men’s tennis team claimed the Patriot League Tournament Championship with a 4-1 win over third-seeded Navy on Sunday afternoon at the Malek Tennis Courts. With the victory, the Black Knights earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Patriot League title marks the sixth in Army men’s tennis history and the first since 2011. The conference championship is the fourth under 12th-year head coach Jim Poling, who guided the Black Knights to the NCAAs in 2005, 2006 and 2011.
Army improves to 20-5 on the year, marking just the fourth 20-win season in team history. The Midshipmen finish their 2014 campaign 18-10.
“This is a great win for us,” said Poling. “We’ve come so close in the last three years, so these guys were ready to do it. This year, we have more guys on the team and more guys helping us pull the train, it really is a family environment. Only eight guys played today, but they were pushed by the rest of the team.”
Army won the second and third doubles matches to clinch the doubles point, while the No. 1 match went unfinished. The Black Knights’ No. 3 pairing of sophomore Austin McCasin and freshman Kyle Barnes were the first to win, collecting an 8-3 decision over Navy’s Alex Gaines and Krishna Jana before freshmen Sam Lampman and Grant Riechmann combined for an 8-5 victory at No. 2 over Blake Daniel and Calvin Mark.
Junior Alex Van Velzer was named the tournament’s most-valuable player following his 6-0, 6-1 win over Navy’s Krishna Jana at No. 5 to put the Black Knights in front, 2-0. Army senior Asika Isoh took a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Navy’s Calvin Mark at the top singles position, just seconds before Daniel gathered a 6-2, 6-4 win for the Midshipmen at No. 4 to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Black Knights.
Sophomore Harrison McCormick clinched the Patriot League Championship for Army with a 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 decision over Navy’s Tyler Tossavainen at the sixth singles flight.
The Black Knights will learn their NCAA Tournament first round opponent during the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship Selection Show on Tuesday, April 29. The selection show will be broadcast live on NCAA.com at 5 p.m.
Match Notes: Army wins its sixth Patriot League Championship, and fourth under 12th-year head coach Jim Poling … the win over Navy marks Army’s first in a league title match … the Black Knights improve to 20-5, marking the fourth 20-win season in program history … with the victory over Navy, Army improves to 17-13 over the Mids in all sports during the 2013-14 season, and clinches a win in the overall head-to-head record with its service-academy rival.
Army 4, Navy 1
1. Austin Jones/Thomas Pecor (N) led Asika Isoh/Alex Van Velzer (A) 5-4 (DNF)
2. Sam Lampman/Grant Riechmann (A) def. Calvin Mark/Blake Daniel (N) 8-5
3. Kyle Barnes/Austin McCasin (A) def. Krishna Jana/Alex Gaines (N) 8-3
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1 (DNF)
1. Asika Isoh (A) def. Calvin Mark (N) 6-3, 6-3
2. Sam Lampman (A) led Austin Jones (N) 7-6 (9-7), 4-2 (DNF)
3. Grant Riechmann (A) led Thomas Pecor (N) 6-4, 2-6, 3-0 (DNF)
4. Blake Daniel (N) def. Caison Best (A) 6-2, 6-4
5. Alex Van Velzer (A) def. Krishna Jana (N) 6-0, 6-1
6. Harrison McCormick (A) def. Tyler Tossavainen (N) 6-0, 5-7, 6-1
Order of finish: 5, 1, 4, 6, 2 (DNF), 3 (DNF)