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Top 25 Poll No. 1

February 21, 2012
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By Jake Knabel, NAIA Communications & Sports Information Intern

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A quartet of 6-3 victories to begin its season has allowed Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) to strengthen its hold on the No. 1 ranking in the first regular-season edition of the 2012 NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Lady Senators picked up 11 of 12 first-place votes and earned 312 points after posting victories over Clayton College, West Florida, Emory University and Jacksonville State since opening the season on Feb. 2.

The top eight in the rankings remained the exact same as in the Preseason Poll on Jan. 31. No. 2 Fresno Pacific (Calif.), off to a 5-0 start, gathered the remaining first-place nod and totaled 302 points. Third-ranked Embry-Riddle (Fla.) received 292 points, followed by No. 4 Oklahoma Christian with 282 points and No. 5 Concordia (Calif.) with 272 points.

The second-ranked Sunbirds have already passed a pair of tests from fellow highly-ranked Golden State Athletic Conference opponents. Fresno Pacific took down then No. 9 Vanguard (Calif.), 7-2, on Feb. 17 before a 6-3 victory over then No. 11 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) on Feb. 18 as the Sunbird doubles’ teams dominated. A top-10 battle in the Sun Conference saw No. 2 Embry-Riddle top No. 8 SCAD Savannah (Ga.), 8-1, on Feb. 19. In the top singles match, eighth-ranked Yi Cheng Chin got the best of No. 12 Theresa Schmaus, 6-1, 6-0. The Eagles have another showdown on March 1 when they host No. 6 Brenau (Ga.).

Only minor shuffling occurred in the poll with the two-spot jumps of No. 9 Point Loma Nazarene and No. 21 Belhaven (Miss.) marking the biggest upward shifts. Point Loma Nazarene is 1-1 after falling to Fresno Pacific, while Belhaven has notched victories in its first two matches of 2012. Similarly, no Top 25 squad fell more than two spots with No. 11 Vanguard the only one to tread back more than one position. In all, 17 teams kept the exact ranking they had in the preseason ranking.

No. 25 Davenport (Mich.) entered the rankings for the first time in school history, replacing Oklahoma Baptist (No. 19) this week. The Lady Panthers have already played 10 matches this season, winning eight of them.

Eight of the 13 conferences/independents/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll with the Southern States Athletic Conference leading all leagues with six Top 25 members: Auburn Montgomery, Brenau, No. 12 William Carey (Miss.), No. 13 Lee (Tenn.), No. 15 Shorter (Ga.) and Belhaven.

The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groupings. The next poll will be released on March 6.

Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) pushed its NAIA-leading all-time No. 1 appearances to 59 … Brenau (Ga.) is next closest with 10 No. 1 rankings, followed by Fresno Pacific (Calif.) with eight, Shorter (Ga.) with three and Northwood (Fla.) with two … Auburn Montgomery topped each poll from May 5, 2004, to May 1, 2010, a span of 47-straight No. 1 rankings, which is an NAIA record … The next closest streak is just eight by Fresno Pacific, which garnered the top selection in all eight polls in 2011 … Northwood gained its only two No. 1 rankings in school history in 2003 when it went on to win the national championship … Auburn Montgomery won the next six national titles until Fresno Pacific ended that run in 2010 with a championship of its own.

RANK LAST WEEK SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) RECORD TOTAL POINTS
1 1 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (11) 4-0 312
2 2 Fresno Pacific (Calif.) (1) 5-0 302
3 3 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 5-1 292
4 4 Oklahoma Christian 1-0 282
5 5 Concordia (Calif.) 3-0 272
6 6 Brenau (Ga.) 2-0 260
7 7 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 3-0 254
8 8 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 2-2 238
9 11 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 1-1 235
10 10 Southern Nazarene (Okla.) 0-0 219
11 9 Vanguard (Calif.) 1-2 215
12 12 William Carey (Miss.) 0-3 204
13 13 Lee (Tenn.) 3-0 191
14 14 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 1-2 179
15 15 Shorter (Ga.) 4-1 175
16 16 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 1-7 160
17 17 Indiana Wesleyan 14-0 152
18 18 SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 0-0 145
19 20 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 0-0 131
20 21 St. Thomas (Fla.) 0-2 120
21 23 Belhaven (Miss.) 2-0 104
22 22 Campbellsville (Ky.) 0-0 101
23 24 Webber International (Fla.) 2-1 95
24 25 Marian (Ind.) 12-3 73
25 RV Davenport (Mich.) 8-2 57

Others receiving votes: Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 49; Indiana Southeast 46; Westmont (Calif.) 29; Northwood (Fla.) 23; Northwestern Ohio 15; Missouri Valley 15; Taylor (Ind.) 14; Milligan (Tenn.) 9; Robert Morris (Ill.) 7; Bethel (Kan.) 7; Cumberlands (Ky.) 3; Xavier (La.) 3; Nebraska Wesleyan 1.