April 28, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. - For the third year in a row, Army and rival Navy squared off for the Patriot League Championship and once again, the result remained the same as the Black Knights defeated the Midshipmen, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon at Malek Courts. Winning its ninth-straight conference title and 14th overall, Army earned the Patriot League's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Helping to provide the Black Knights first (doubles) and last point (singles) of the match, junior Della Taylor took home the John "Pat" Rooney Award as the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Taylor's come-from-behind 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win at No. 6 singles clinched the match.
In a contest that lasted three-plus hours, Taylor opened the day playing alongside younger sister, Elle, atop the Black Knights' doubles lineup. The pair took down Navy's Erin Snook and Noelle Kaufmann, 8-2, and was the first match to finish. Senior co-captain Erin Colton and junior Jamila Paul secured the doubles point in Army's favor with an 8-1 win at No. 2, while junior Margaret Iliev and freshman Carolyn Pitman held a 7-2 advantage when play was called.
Navy threw its only counter-punch of the day when it tied the match, 1-1, with a straight-set win at No. 1 singles. The bottom of Army's lineup took care of business from that point on, finishing in order to secure the win. Pitman made quick work of Navy's Logan Antill with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 4. Fellow rookie Gabriella Spindler was not far behind as she edged out the Mids' Stefanie Ton, 6-4, 6-2, in the fifth flight. Spindler's win gave the Black Knights a 3-1 lead with three matches still playing.
Paul rebounded from a 3-6 loss in the opening set and was approaching a third-set win in the second flight, while freshman Eva Sung battling back-and-forth with Navy's Darien Sears at No. 3. While Paul and Sung continued action on their respective courts, across the way Della Taylor dialed in and authored a dominating third-set performance in the match-clinching effort.
Making its 13th postseason appearance, Army will take a 22-6 record into the NCAA Tournament. The first rounds are set to be played May 10 and 11 with the field being set on April 30 at 5:30 p.m. ET as a part of the NCAA Championship Selection Show on NCAA.com.
Match Notes: Head coach Paul Peck celebrated his birthday on Sunday ... all of Army's Patriot League titles have come under the veteran mentor ... the Black Knights hosted the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2008 ... an Army player(s) has been named tournament MVP every year since 2005 ... Army defeated Navy, 6-1, during the regular season ... the Black Knights swept Colgate in the semifinal round to reach Sunday's championship match.
#1 Army - 4
#2 Navy - 1
- Della Taylor/Elle Taylor (A) def. Erin Snook/Noelle Kaufmann (N), 8-2
- Erin Colton/Jamila Paul (A) def. Emani Decquir/Sam Droop (N), 8-1
- Margaret Iliev/Carolyn Pitman (A) led Darien Sears/Logan Antill (N), 7-2 DNF
Order of finish: 1,2
- Decquir (N) def. Colton (A), 6-2, 6-1
- Paul (A) led Snook (N), 3-6, 6-0, 5-3 DNF
- Eva Sung (A) led Sears (N), 7-5, 3-4 DNF
- Pitman (A) def. Antill (N), 6-1, 6-1
- Gabriella Spindler (A) def. Stefanie Ton, 6-4, 6-2
- D. Taylor (A) def. Katie Porter (N), 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
Order of finish: 1, 4, 5, 6