ANNAPOLIS, Md. – After dropping the doubles point, the Navy men’s tennis team (29-10, 8-0) won four straight-set singles matches to rally for a 4-1 victory over Army (16-13, 5-2), Saturday afternoon at the USNA Tennis Courts in Annapolis. The regular season finale for both teams served as the annual Star Match, which is part of the Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA.
“It was an awesome atmosphere today, with so many supporters from both institutions on hand,” said Navy head coach Chris Garner. “We knew Army would be inspired to play well today with this being (Army head coach) Jim Poling’s final Star Match.
“I know the team enjoyed the opportunity to play in front of so many classmates, families, friends and alumni.”
The doubles point was expected to feature three highly competitive matches, and that prediction turned out to be accurate. Army’s No. 1 team of Thomas Lake and AJ Woodman broke Navy’s Sasha Panyan (So., Lutherville, Md.) And Derrick Thompson (Sr., Towson, Md.) In the opening game. That was the only break of serve in the set as the Black Knights defeated the Mids, 6-4.
In contrast, there were five breaks of serve in the No. 3 match that featured Navy’s Jack Dabek (Sr., Dublin, Ohio) and Luke Garner (Fr., Arnold, Md.) Going against Army’s Jake Huarte and Nathan Jose. The match was tied at 5-5 when the Black Knights held serve to take a 6-5 lead and then registered a break to win the set, 7-5, and give Army the 1-0 advantage.
The remaining match between Navy’s Finn Garner (Jr., Arnold, Md.) And Gavin Segreaves (Jr., Charlottesville, Va.) And Army’s Samuel Eden and Diego Huttepain was tied at 5-5 when play was halted due to the Black Knights securing the point.
“Army proved they came to win by playing very well to take the doubles point,” said Garner.
Navy bounced back by winning the first set in four singles matches to take early leads.
“Our guys were able to turn the tide at the start of the singles matches,” said Garner.
Panyan was the first Mid to finish as he posted a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Huarte to tie the score at 1-1. Moments later, Finn Garner defeated Lake, 6-3, 6-0, to give the Mids a 2-1 lead.
Thompson increased the advantage to 3-1 when he defeated Huttepain, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 1 singles. Segraves closed out play when he won his No. 2 singles match, 6-3, 6-4, over Woodman.
“We received impressive singles play from Sasha, Finn, Derrick and Gavin, all of whom won in straight sets against excellent opponents,” said Garner.
Left on the courts were the Nos. 4 and 5 matches. At No. 5, Army’s Samuel Haikal won the first set against Jake Fishkin (Sr., Baltimore, Md.), 6-4, but Fishkin held a 5-2 lead in the second set. The No. 4 match between Navy’s Jack McBride (Sr., Chapel Hill, NC) and Eden was still in the first set. Eden held a 6-5 lead in the frame.
Next up for both teams is the Patriot League Tournament, which will be held April 28-May 1 in Annapolis. The Mids should be the top-seeded team and the Black Knights are expected to be either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed, which means the teams could meet again in the championship match of the tournament in eight days.
Navy def. Army, 4-1
Doubles – Army wins the doubles point (1-3)
1. Lake, Thomas / Woodman, AJ (ARMY) def. Panyan, Sasha / Thompson, Derrick (NAVY) 6-4
2. Garner, Finn / Segraves, Gavin (NAVY) vs. Eden Samuel / Huttepain, Diego (ARMY) 5-5, unfinished
3. Huarte, Jake / Jose, Nathan (ARMY) def. Dabek, Jack / Garner, Luke (NAVY) 7-5
1. Thompson, Derrick (NAVY) def. Huttepain, Diego (ARMY) 6-4, 6-4
2. Segraves, Gavin (NAVY) def. Woodman, AJ (ARMY) 6-3, 6-4
3. Garner, Finn (NAVY) def. Lake, Thomas (ARMY) 6-3, 6-0
4. McBride, Jack (NAVY) vs. Eden Samuel (ARMY) 5-6, unfinished
5. Fishkin, Jake (NAVY) vs. Haikal, Samuel (ARMY) 4-6, 5-2, unfinished
6. Panyan, Sasha (NAVY) def. Huarte, Jake (ARMY) 6-1, 6-4