Aug. 21, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. - With the first week of classes at West Point in full swing, Army head women's tennis coach Paul Peck is pleased to welcome five members of the Class of 2016 to his eight-time defending Patriot League Champion club. The quintet was recently rated No. 17 amongst TennisRecruiting.net's Top Mid-Major Women's Classes.
"I'm extremely excited about this year's recruiting class," said Peck, a 12-time Patriot League Coach of the Year. "They did very well over the summer and after getting our first practice in, it's evident that they will step in and contribute.
"In addition, to be ranked amongst the top mid-majors once again is a great honor for our program," he added. "It speaks to a consistent commitment to excellence that we have here at the Academy. I hope we are able to use this as a launching point to increasing our ranking on a national level."
Gabriella Spindler, Carolyn Pitman, Haley O'Connor, Kelly Daniel and Eva Sung will look to lend their talents to an already deep women's tennis roster that returns all 16 players from the 2012 Patriot League Championship team.
"With not graduating anyone from last year's team, our depth will only increase with the addition of this year's plebe class," Peck said. "It's exciting and will be very important down the stretch as we vie for another Patriot League title in the spring."
A four-star recruit out of Clarkston, Mich., Spindler helped lead Clarkson High School to a state championship while earning first team all-state accolades during her decorated career. After bursting on the scene with an unblemished 18-0 record as a freshman, Spindler launched a team Most Valuable Player career that also included all-league and all-county honors. She also honed her skills under private coach Gilbert Rincon.
Spindler was a Hoxie Memorial Award winner, which is given to a junior player in Southeast Michigan who has made a great contribution to the game of tennis through their good sportsmanship and their achievements both on and off the tennis court. In addition, the right-handed Spindler garnered the Midwest USTA Helen Shockley Award in 2012. The award recognizes the outstanding 16 or 18-and-under age division female player from the USTA/Midwest.
Pitman makes her way to West Point from West Chester, Ohio, where she also picked up a four-star rating from TennisRecruiting.net. A member of the USMA Prep School Class of 2012, Pitman played for Lakota East High School where she was a runner-up state champion in doubles and named Greater Miami Conference Player of the Year. The left-handed Pitman earned all-state, all-district and all-section honors throughout a successful career under coaches Brian Peters and Dan Kronauge.
Another four-star recruit out of the Midwest, O'Connor is a righty from Park Ridge, Ill. A third-team all-state honoree, O'Connor's older brother is a cadet at the U.S. Air force Academy and her twin sister is set to play tennis at Illinois. The O'Connor twins played doubles together for the majority of their young tennis careers, while also opting to play regional and national tournaments rather than focusing on the high school level. The future Army officer most recently trained under private coach Yohann Nograbat.
Peck's second recruit in this class out of Michigan, Daniel is a right-handed player out of Zeeland. While graduating in the top 10 in Zeeland East's Class of 2012, a star rated recruit she earned all-state and all-conference honors at first singles. Daniel was a late-bloomer on the tournament scene, not starting until after her sophomore year in high school. She managed to hone her skills well enough to play on the Division I level under private coach Jorge Capestany.
A three-star recruit out of Pittsburgh, Pa., Sung comes from familiar territory for Peck as he also found three-time Patriot League Player of the Year Annie Houghton in the same area. Playing at No. 1 singles, Sung helped lead Sewickley Academy to a state title in 2011. Individually, she finished third in the PIAA Class AA singles tournament and copped team MVP honors in 2009 and 2011.
All five new cadets will get their first taste of collegiate tennis this fall. The Black Knights open play with tournaments at both Stony Brook and Quinnipiac the weekend of Sept. 14-16. Army will not begin its quest for a ninth-straight and 14th overall Patriot League title until the spring. Click here for a complete fall schedule.