Women's Tennis to Face Navy in League Title Match

Elle Taylor

Elle Taylor

April 21, 2012

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Army defeated Colgate 4-0 in the Patriot League Championship semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Lehigh to advance to Sunday’s title match. The second-seeded Black Knights will face top-seeded Navy for the second straight season with the conference’s automatic NCAA Championship bid on the line. The finals are slated for noon at Lehigh’s indoor courts at Lewis Tennis Center.

Army (21-6, 5-0 PL) swept the third-seeded Raiders (7-13, 2-3 PL) in the conference semifinals for the fourth straight season. The shutout of Colgate was also the second of the season for the Black Knights and 10th time in their last 11 showdowns. Army improved to 10-2 in postseason matches against Colgate and 25-10 in the all-time series, including 20 consecutive wins.

 Leading off in doubles, sophomore Jamila Paul and junior co-captain Erin Colton got the ball rolling for Army, topping Kelsey Shea and Kelsey Wanhainen, 8-3, at No. 2. The duo, who also won against Holy Cross in yesterday’s quarterfinal, improved to 19-5 on the year to rank second on the team.

Sophomore Carly Riney and Margaret Iliev clinched the doubles point for the Black Knights, as the Army pair knocked off Merideth Rock and Jackie Finn, 8-0, at No. 3. With a 14-1 dual-match record, the sophomores lead the Black Knights in winning percentage (minimum five matches) with a .933 clip.

Freshman Elle Taylor stretched Army’s lead to 2-0 after defeating Olivia Rauh in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 6 singles. Taylor, whose match went unfinished yesterday, jumped to 18-7 on the season with the win.

Classmate Natalie Allen continued her climb up Army’s single-season wins list after collecting her 10th consecutive victory on Saturday. Allen defeated Stephanie Brown, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 3, bumping her season record to 28-7. The 28 wins list tied with Annie Houghton ’11 (2008-09) for fourth all-time.

Iliev clinched the victory for the Black Knights by defeating Wanhainen, 6-3, 6-0, at No. 4. Iliev and Allen were also responsible for two singles points in yesterday’s contest as well.

"The girls played well," said Army head coach Paul Peck. "I'm proud of them. We're not going to stop though. WIth the weather looking bad for tomorrow, we're going to have a practice tonight inside, just so we can adjust to playing indoors again."

The Black Knights will be making their 16th consecutive trip to the Patriot League Championship match, while Navy, who defeated No. 5 Bucknell 4-0 on Saturday, enters its second straight league title contest. The Midshipmen show a 20-2 record this season and went 4-0 in league matches.

The two service academies met for the first time in program history last season in the conference finals, with Army prevailing 4-0 to capture its seventh consecutive NCAA berth and 12th Patriot League crown.

Army is 11-4 in the conference finals with two of those setbacks coming against former Patriot League member American (2004, 2002), with the other two coming at the hands of Colgate in 1996 and 1997.

No. 2 Army 4, No. 3 Colgate 0
1 D. Taylor/E. Taylor (Army) def. Petrini/Brown (Colgate) 8-4
2 Colton/Paul (Army) def. Shea/Wanhainen (Colgate) 8-3
3 Iliev/Riney (Army) def. Rock/Finn (Colgate) 8-0
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1 Erin Colton (Army) leading Alex Petrini (Colgate) 6-0, 4-2 DNF
2 Jamila Paul (Army) leading Kelsey Shea (Colgate) 6-3, 3-1 DNF
3 Natalie Allen (Army) def. Stephanie Brown (Colgate) 6-1, 6-1
4 Margaret Iliev (Army) def. Kelsey Wanhainen (Colgate) 6-3, 6-0
5 Della Taylor (Army) leading Merideth Rock (Colgate) 6-0, 5-2 DNF
6 Elle Taylor (Army) def. Olivia Rauh (Colgate) 6-0, 6-1
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 4

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