April 12, 2013
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Army men’s tennis clinched the regular-season title and top seed in the Patriot League Championship following a 4-2 victory over Bucknell on Friday evening. The Black Knights and Bison were forced indoors to the West Branch Tennis Club and played a shortened match, as all but one singles contest finished.
Army (15-6, 5-0 Patriot League) rebounded after Bucknell (11-7, 1-2 PL) swept all three doubles contests to gain a 1-0 advantage to begin the match.
With only four courts available, the top-four singles contests were played first. Reigning Patriot League Player of the Month Asika Isoh evened the score at 1-1 after defeating Nick Bybel at No. 1, 6-2, 7-5, for his 13th dual win of the season.
Senior Rashad Shelton came back after dropping his first set 6-3 to snag the next two sets from Kelly Morque, 6-3, 6-3, while sophomore Alex Van Velzer added a three-set win (6-0, 3-6, 6-3) of his own to bring Army to the brink of clinching.
Freshman Harrison McCormick and sophomore Peter Sienko were the last to take the courts, playing at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively. After freshman Caison Best fell to Evan Zimmer at No. 3, the Bison narrowed the contest to 3-2 as McCormick and Sienko started their respective singles matches.
In one of just two straight-set decisions, McCormick knocked off Kyle Rosen 7-6(8-6), 6-4 as Army clinched the victory, 4-2, and the regular-season Patriot League crown. Sienko’s match went unfinished as the yearling maintained a 6-4, 4-4 lead.
Army last earned the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament in 2011. The 2011 season also marked the Black Knights’ last conference championship and accompanying NCAA Tournament bid. Since the Patriot League turned to a team format in 1994, Army has been the No. 1 seed seven times and is a combined 15-1 when playing as the top team. The Black Knights have won the league title six times as the No. 1 seed and seven times overall since 1994.
Army will close out the regular season tomorrow when it travels to Colgate at noon. The Raiders show a 7-9 record and are 1-3 in Patriot League play, having lost their last two matches to Bucknell and Lehigh.