April 5, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army men’s tennis will look to send its seniors out on a high note on Sunday as the Black Knights will host rival Navy in the final home contest of the season. Army will recognize seniors Alex Holland and Rashad Shelton prior to the first serve against the Midshipmen, which is slated for 2 p.m. Weather permitting, the match will be played on West Point’s outdoor courts at the Malek Tennis Center.
Army (13-5, 3-0 Patriot League) is looking to avenge a pair of losses to Navy (14-0, 2-0 PL) in 2012. The Midshipmen won last season’s Star Match in Annapolis, Md., 4-3, before ending the Black Knights’ season in the Patriot League Championship, 4-1. Army last defeated Navy in the 2011 Star Match played at West Point. One of Sunday’s honorees, Alex Holland, provided the match-clinching point on that sunny afternoon as the Black Knights scored an emotional 4-3 victory on April 9, 2011.
Navy leads the all-time series 58-32, including 49-28 in Star Matches.
Army’s 11th-year head coach Jim Poling, who is 5-5 in Gold Star Matches, has utilized a young lineup this season with many of the fresh faces potentially getting their first Star Match experience on Sunday. Only three of Army’s singles’ lineup mainstays have faced Navy before, including reigning Patriot League Player of the Month Asika Isoh.
Isoh is 1-1 in singles contests against the Midshipmen, including a three-set win over then-senior Marcus Rebersak in last season’s Star Match. Isoh’s conference tournament match against Rebersak went unfinished, with each player winning a set. Isoh is 11-4 this season, all from the No. 1 spot.
Sophomore Peter Sienko is the lone undefeated Army player against Navy after knocking off Tyler Burnett in three sets in the 2012 regular season. Rashad Shelton has also previously squared off against Navy during his freshman season (2010) when he suffered a three-set defeat in the Star Match.
Both Army and Navy are undefeated in Patriot League play this season with the Black Knights topping Holy Cross, Lafayette and Lehigh, and the Midshipmen defeating Colgate and Bucknell. Army or Navy has finished atop the conference standings and claimed the Patriot League Tournament’s No. 1 seed in each of the last seven seasons.
Following the Navy match, Army will hit the road for its final two regular-season contests of the season. The Black Knights will wrap up conference play at Bucknell on April 12 and at Colgate on April 13. The Bison are 10-5 so far this season with three matches scheduled prior to the showdown with Army. The Raiders are 7-7 with matches against Bucknell and Lehigh on the docket before Army.