By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After claiming their second-consecutive national championship in Mobile, Ala., on May 17 with a 5-0 victory over Embry-Riddle (Fla.), the Grizzlies of Georgia Gwinnett continue as the top team in the 2015 NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday.
The No. 1-ranked squad wrapped up the 2014-15 slate by gathering 11 first-place votes and 281 total points en route to the top-billing. With today’s ranking, the Grizzlies finished the season claiming the top-spot in every poll, beginning with the Preseason Top 25 on Jan. 27. Additionally, Georgia Gwinnett has lea all teams at the top of the ratings since the 2014 Coaches’ Postseason Poll on May 21, 2014.
In the championship final against Embry-Riddle, the duo of Lachlan McPhee and Luke Morlan took down Rudolfo Arreygue and Miguel Lopez Gomez, 8-2, and got the No.1 seed off on the right track. The other two matches went the way of the Grizzlies as well, as No. 1 doubles was earned, 8-6, by Jordan Cox and Kevin Konfederak. Georgia Gwinnett put the clamps on the doubles competition after Matias Hatem and Connor Clements knocked out Fabian Zierlyn and Carlos Becke of the Eagles, 8-4.
Clements made quick work of Becke in No. 4 singles, winning, 6-2, 6-2, and putting Embry-Riddle on the brink of elimination. The Eagles tried their best to get back into the match, but the Grizzlies proved to be too strong at nearly every level. Before Embry-Riddle could claim a point to get back into the match, No. 3 singles man Matia Hatem took down Zierlyn, 6-1, 6-3, officially cementing the Grizzlies as national champions.
Georgia Gwinnett wrapped up the season at 16-2, and becomes the first school since Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) to win back-to-back crowns. The Warhawks won three-consecutive titles from 2006-08.
The top five fell into place with national runner-up (two-straight years) Embry-Riddle (21-4) at No. 2 with 272 total points. Vanguard (Calif.) (27-2) is in third with 260 points, followed by No. 4 Auburn Montgomery (21-6 and 257 points), and No. 5 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (20-2 and 245 points).
No. 13 Dalton State was the first school to make any movement in the ranking, jumping from 15th after earning its first championship win in the Roadrunners’ first appearance (8-1 over Oklahoma Baptist.). No. 15 Reinhardt (Ga.) was the highest riser this week, moving from No. 21 after defeating Westmont (Calif.), 5-4, for the programs first championship triumph in its first try. With the loss, Westmont fell to No. 17.
No. 25 Asbury (Ky.) jumps into the rating after putting up a fight with No. 11 Coastal Georgia in Mobile, before falling, 5-4.
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.
Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Georgia Gwinnett is ranked No. 1 for the 10th time in program history, and finishes the 2014-15 season as the top-team in every poll this year… 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’ Postseason Top 25 Poll – (May 20)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014-15 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Georgia Gwinnett (11)||16-2||281|
|4||4||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||21-6||257|
|5||5||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||20-2||245|
|8||8||San Diego Christian (Calif.)||15-8||218|
|9||9||William Carey (Miss.)||14-7||209|
|13||15||Dalton State (Ga.)||12-8||168|
|22||21||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||20-8||92|
|23||20||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||4-10||66|
|24||24||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||12-6||61|
Others Receiving Votes: Indiana Wesleyan 54; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 44; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 33; Davenport (Mich.) 32; Tennessee Wesleyan 32; Marian (Ind.) 7; Middle Georgia State 7; Pikeville (Ky.) 6; Aquinas (Mich.) 4.