Senior Tripp Johnson will author a blog throughout the week leading up to the annual Army-Navy Star Match on Saturday, April 9. The Black Knights host Navy at Lichtenberg Tennis Center at 1 p.m. Johnson is the lone senior on Army's 2011 roster and hails from Hickory, N.C.
Army-Navy Week Blog: Monday
It's hard for me to believe that it is already time for my last Star Match. This season, more than any of my others, has flown by. As we approach our showdown with Navy the team couldn't be doing much better, we're coming off a 5-0 start to Patriot League competition with a 6-1 victory over the Bucknell Bison Monday. As much as I want to tell the team that this is just another match, we all know that it isn't, it's more. Of all of the matches we play this is the one that everyone wants to win. Any time an old grad comes to a match they want to know about how we're going to do against Navy. There is clearly some added pressure from us, the Academy, and anyone who is a fan of the Army team. All that being said there is no reason for us to change up anything in our preparation or play.
After starting the season slowly with a 1-7 record, we have won nine of our last 12 to put our record at 10-10. This match offers us a chance to have a winning record for the first time since a 1-0 start. Needless to say, we are approaching this with refocused energy and for myself, I can't describe how much each match means as I see my college tennis career coming to an end.
Going back to my plebe year I remember feeling overwhelmed going to Annapolis and having the biggest crowd of my career. Everyone knows how much this rivalry means to both schools, regardless of the rest of the season, the Star match offers a chance to turn it around going into the Patriot League tournament. As intense as the rivalry is there is no doubt that we share a bond with the Midshipmen, though you won't hear much positive towards our competitors we have all made the decision to serve our country and the winning tradition of both schools in the Patriot League is undeniable.
In the past I have felt a lot of pressure leading up to Navy and as the lone senior on the team I hope to take a little pressure off the rest of the team as we redouble our efforts in practice this week. We have been playing better and better throughout the year and our team unity is at an all time high. For now I am going to relax and bask in our victory over Bucknell, tomorrow we go to work.
-Tripp Johnson, USMA '11