Army Picked To Defend Patriot League Crown

Margaret Iliev was a first team all-league pick in 2012.

Margaret Iliev was a first team all-league pick in 2012.

Jan. 17, 2013

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Looking to capture its 13th Patriot League Championship under head coach Paul Peck this season, the Army women's tennis team earned great respect with placement atop the Patriot League preseason poll. Released on Thursday afternoon, the conference's head coaches and sports information directors each cast one vote.

Army earned nine first-place votes and was trailed by archrival Navy (65 points, five first-place votes), the team the Black Knights defeated a season ago for their ninth straight Patriot League title. Bucknell earned third place in the poll with 49 points, followed by Colgate (42), Lehigh (35), Lafayette (19) and Holy Cross (15) in order.

"As flattering as it is to be picked to defend our title, we can't put a ton of stock in the preseason poll," said Peck, the 2012 Patriot League Coach of the Year. "I say that because the talent in the league has done nothing but improve every year and it will not be an easy road. We need to take things match-by-match and strive to peak in the Patriot League Tournament."

The Black Knights won their eighth consecutive Patriot League title last season, and look to continue their near decade of dominance in 2013. The Black Knights went 22-7 a year ago, was unbeaten in league play (5-0) and won three matches in the conference tournament to secure its 12th title overall.

Army swept the Patriot League major awards last May, along with leading the conference with five All-Patriot League selections.

After more than a month-long layoff, the Black Knights return to the court at the Cornell Winter Invitational, Jan. 25-27, in Ithaca, N.Y. Army 23 of its dual matches a home this season, including a highly anticipated rematch against Navy on April 7. The Black Knights will also serve as hosts for the 2013 Patriot League Tournament, which is set for April 26-28.

PATRIOT LEAGUE WOMEN'S TENNIS PRESEASON POLL

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

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