By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – By collecting 343 points and all 13 first-place votes, the Grizzlies of Georgia Gwinnett continue as the No. 1 men’s tennis team in the 2015 NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday.
The defending national champion Grizzlies started the season as the top-ranked school for the first time in history thanks to winning a banner in their first year of NAIA postseason eligibility in 2014. A perfect season was capped off with a 21-0 record and a 5-1 win over top-seeded Embry-Riddle (Fla.) in the national championship final on May 17, 2014.
The top-ranked team has picked up right where it left off a season ago, currently sitting at 5-0, and most recently coming off a 7-2 thrashing of NCAA Division II Lander at GGC Tennis Facility on Feb. 6. With the triumph, Georgia Gwinnett has now won 27-consecutive matches.
Martin Methodist (Tenn.) is up next on the docket for the Grizzlies on March 3.
Embry-Riddle – 2014 national runner-up – remains No. 2 with 332 total points. The Eagles’ loss in the national championship final a year ago was the school’s first and only defeat to an NAIA competitor all year. The second-ranked group looks to have moved on from the aforementioned loss by beginning 2015 at 3-0.On Feb. 14, Embry-Riddle shutout NCAA Division II Florida Southern, 9-0, en route to the early blemish-free record.
Southeastern (Fla.) is next up on the schedule on Thursday for the Eagles.
Continuing at No. 3 is Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (1-3) with 320 points. The Warhawks join the Eagles on the list of schools who were victims of the Grizzlies in 2014 NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship. The rest of the top five includes 2014 national championship semifinalist Vanguard (Calif.) (6-0 and 311 points) in fourth, and quarterfinalist Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (2-2 and 299 points) is fifth.
The top 11 schools in the rating remain in the same position they held in the Preseason Poll on Jan. 27, with No. 12 Northwestern Ohio making a gigantic leap into the rating. The Racers were unranked in the preseason Top 25.
No. 21 San Diego Christian (Calif.) had the best positive movement within the poll of any institution, jumping up from No. 24. Twenty-second ranked SCAD Savannah (Ga.) dropped three spots from No. 19.
McPherson (Kan.) – ranked No. 25 – joins Northwestern Ohio as the only additional newcomer.
Twelve conferences/Association of Independent Institutions/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by four teams from the Golden State Athletic Conference and Southern States Athletic Conference. The Mid-South Conference, the Sun Conference and the unaffiliated group of the American Midwest/A.I.I./Frontier/GCAC have the second-most teams in the poll with three.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions. For the entire 2015 NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
The second regular-season release of the Top 25 Poll will be March 3.
Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Georgia Gwinnett is ranked No. 1 for the third time in program history, and first time in a regular-season edition… Embry-Riddle (Fla.) had topped the poll for 12-straight editions prior to the 2014 Coaches’ Postseason Poll on May 21, 2014… Auburn Montgomery’s (Ala.) 29 top mentions are the most all-time… The Warhawks are followed by former-members Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Fresno Pacific (Calif.) with 23 each, Embry-Riddle with 15 and Oklahoma City with 13… Two teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2014: Embry-Riddle and Georgia Gwinnett.
2015 NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (Feb. 17)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014-15 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Georgia Gwinnett (13)||5-0||343|
|3||3||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||1-3||320|
|5||5||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||2-2||299|
|16||15||SCAD Atlanta (Ga.)||0-2||175|
|18||17||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||0-0||146|
|20||19||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||2-3||129|
|21||24||San Diego Christian (Calif.)||4-1||122|
|22||19||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||1-2||101|
Others Receiving Votes: William Carey (Miss.) 73; Aquinas (Mich.), 56; Webber International (Fla.), 47; Marian (Ind.), 25; Campbellsville (Ky.), 24; Biola (Calif.), 13; Southeastern (Fla.), 11; Missouri Valley, 8; Friends (Kan.), 5; Warner (Fla.), 3.
^ 2015 NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Jan. 27)