March 21, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army men’s tennis will begin Patriot League play this weekend when the Black Knights host a tripleheader at Lichtenberg Tennis Center. The weekend will kick off with Lafayette at noon on Friday, followed by Holy Cross at 8 p.m., and concluding with Lehigh on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Army (9-5) is coming off a 4-3 win over Stony Brook on Tuesday and swept both Lafayette (2-3) and Holy Cross (0-3) a season ago. The Black Knights suffered their first loss to Lehigh (11-3) in 26 years in 2012, falling to the Mountain Hawks 5-2 to drop to 39-3 all-time.
Army is 33-3-2 all-time against Lafayette and 16-0 against the Crusaders. Holy Cross is one of five teams the Black Knights have faced more than 10 times in history and have never lost to.
Lafayette has one match scheduled prior to its showdown with Army, as the Leopards will face Delaware on Thursday in a rescheduled match from earlier in the season. Lehigh will square off with Holy Cross on Saturday prior to its Sunday dual with the Black Knights.
Army’s lineup will be somewhat unfamiliar to its seasoned conference foes as head coach Jim Poling has tabbed a number of younger players to battle for the Black Knights. Freshmen have accounted for nearly 40 percent of Army’s singles wins this dual season while over 80 percent of doubles wins have involved at least one plebe.
Reining Patriot League Player of the Month Harrison McCormick leads the newcomer charge with team-high totals in singles wins (nine) and doubles victories (12). Caison Best has earned the start in 13 of Army’s 14 matches this season, while classmate Ben Davies is 4-0 including a straight-set win on Tuesday against the Seawolves.
Following the weekend’s tripleheader, Army will host service academy rival Navy on April 7. The annual Star Match will be contested at West Point this year where the Black Knights won their most recent bout with the Midshipmen in 2011. Navy defeated Army in the regular season (4-3) and in the Patriot League finals (4-1) in 2012, as the Mids lead the all-time series 58-32.