Sept. 13, 2012
STONY BROOK, N.Y. -
The Army women's tennis team will get its first taste of competition since last year's NCAA Tournament as the Black Knights open the 2012-13 slate at the Stony Brook Classic this weekend on Long Island. The weekend begins with opening rounds of both singles and doubles on Friday, Sept. 14, and will conclude with final rounds of both on Sunday, Sept. 16.
A team did not lose a single senior to graduation in May, while bringing in five members of the Class of 2016, Army's depth and experience should work to the Black Knights' advantage as they vie for a ninth-straight Patriot League title.
"We're really excited and ready to play," said head coach Paul Peck, who is beginning this 18th season with the program. "The freshmen have been hearing about playing college tennis for a while now, and this will be their first opportunity. I'm excited to see the plebes play. They are as talented a group as we've ever had. I also know the upper classmen are ready to start that journey again and hopefully be at the top of the hill at the end of the season."
Peck certainly did not shy away from challenging competition for his program's first tournament out of the gate. Defending America East Champion Stony Brook will host nine teams at their University Courts, including defending Northeast Conference Champion Long Island, the Rhode Island, Amherst, Bryant, Fairleigh Dickinson, Marist and Patriot League foes Navy and Colgate.
"All of these programs are strong and it's going to be a real challenge going up against that kind of competition early," Peck noted. "There won't be a weak team there. I think our team is up for being challenged right away; it's a good step for us."
Army will throw five doubles teams into the mix of two flights on Friday, including last season's top doubles tandem in senior Erin Colton and junior Jamila Paul. The pair posted a 19-5 record in 2012.
Colton and Paul are slated for the A singles flight as well. The reigning Patriot League Player of the Year, Paul registered 21 wins a year ago. The Black Knights will have two players represented in each of the five singles flights throughout the weekend, including senior co-captain Larraine Saavedra (C), senior Holly Pappafotis (E), junior Margaret Iliev (B), sophomores Alyssa Hanson (D) and Maya Parker (E) and freshmen Carolyn Pitman (B), Gabriella Spindler (C) and Eva Sung (D).
"This first tournament is a good opportunity for me to see where we need to go in terms of what we need to work on," Peck said. "As of right now, we've been really working on trying to get their timing back. Once they start playing real competition, all of the sudden my staff and I will see in which areas each individual may be stronger or weaker."
Daily recaps from the Stony Brook Classic will be posted on www.goARMYsports.com as results become available.