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Men's Tennis

Navy Men's Tennis Hangs On to Earn Star

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Luke Garner (So., Arnold, Md.) and Sasha Panyan combined for a doubles victory and won their respective singles matches in a 4-3 victory by the Navy men's tennis team over Army, Saturday afternoon. 

The regular season finale between the Mids (20-19, 6-0) and the Black Knights (18-11, 6-1) served as the Star Match, part of the Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA, between the teams.  

Play began outside on Malek Courts, but moved inside to the Lichtenberg Tennis Center with three singles matches still to be finished. 

The teams could meet again in just eight days as they are expected to be the top-two seeded teams in next week's Patriot League Tournament.

"It was an incredible atmosphere, match and finish today," said Navy head coach Chris Garner.

At No. 1 doubles, Luke Garner and Panyan trailed, 3-1, and were down two breaks of serve to Thomas Lake and A.J. Woodman.  The Mids bounced back to win the next five games and win the match, 6-3.

Army's Vishnu Bodavula and Samuel Eden took a 2-0 lead on Christian Pumpelly and Gavin Segraves at No. 3 doubles.  The Mids responded by winning the next three games to take a 3-2 lead.  The teams held serve the remainder of the set to force a tiebreaker.

The Navy pair took an early 3-1 lead in the breaker and maintained either a one or two-point cushion until Army tied the score at 5-5.  The Mids broke serve to take a 6-5 lead, then held serve to take the breaker, 7-5, and the doubles point.

"Doubles went through some momentum swings," said Garner, "with our number one and three teams streaking to the finish to get us the 1-0 lead."

In the remaining match, Finn Garner and Nathan Nguyen recorded a break of serve to take a 4-3 lead on Jake Huarte and Nathan Jose at No. 2 doubles, then held serve to go up, 5-3.  The Black Knights held serve, broke the Mids and held serve to take a 6-5 advantage.  Play was stopped with Navy serving due to the doubles point being decided.

The Navy lead grew to 2-0 when J.J. Etterbeek posted a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 5 singles over Huarte.

Panyan soon won a 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) decision against Woodman at No. 1 singles to increase the advantage to 3-0.

"J.J. and Sasha set the tone for us in winning their singles matches in straight sets," said Garner.

Army's first point was placed on the scoreboard when Lake defeated Segraves, 7-5, 6-2, at No. 2 singles.

The Black Knights made the score 3-2 on a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win by Eden over Herrick Legaspi at No. 4 singles.

The match then was tied at 3-3 as Samuel Haikal defeated Aniketh Ayinala, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4).

That left the No. 3 match to decide matters.  Luke Garner won the first set, 7-5, Bodavula evened the match with a 7-5 win in the second set and Garner won the third set, 6-3.

Garner led, 7-5, 4-5, Legaspi was up, 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 and Ayinala held a 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 lead when play was moved indoors.

There was a noticeable difference in experience between the teams that took to the courts Saturday.  Navy's nine-player lineup featured four freshmen –– Ayinala, Etterbeek, Legaspi and Nguyen –– and one sophomore –– Luke Garner –– and five players who had played in a total of 22 career matches against Army.  

Army's seven-player lineup included four seniors –– Eden, Jose, Lake and Woodman –– and two juniors –– Haikal and Huarte –– who together had amassed 34 career matches against Navy.

Navy 4, Army 3

Doubles -- Navy wins the doubles point (1-3)

1. Garner, Luke / Panyan, Sasha (NAVY) def. Lake, Thomas / Woodman, A.J., 6-3
2. Bodavula, Vishnu / Eden, Samuel (ARMY) vs. Garner, Finn / Nguyen, Nathan, 6-5, unfinished
3. Pumpelly, Christian / Segraves, Gavin (NAVY) def. Huarte, Jake / Jose, Nathan, 7-6 (7-5)

Singles (5-1-2-4-6-3)
1. Panyan, Sasha (NAVY) def. Woodman, A.J., 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)
2. Lake, Thomas (ARMY) def. Segraves, Gavin, 7-5, 6-2
3. Garner, Luke (NAVY) def. Bodavula, Vishnu, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
4. Eden, Samuel (ARMY) def. Legaspi, Herrick, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
5. Etterbeek, J.J. (NAVY) def. Huarte, Jake, 6-1, 6-2
6. Haikal, Samuel (ARMY) def. Ayinala, Aniketh, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4)