March 20, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time this season, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) is a unanimous No. 1 choice in the NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Warhawks, who had their 25-match winning streak snapped by NCAA Division II third-ranked Lynn University (Fla.) on March 16, picked up all 11 first-place votes for 281 points in the third regular-season edition of the poll. Each of the season’s previous three polls had seen Fresno Pacific (Calif.) garner at least one first-place nod.
The loss to Lynn came on the heels of a 7-2 victory over NCAA Division II Florida Southern on March 14. Ana Veselinovic, rated the No. 1 singles player nationally in the NAIA by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, posted a 6-1, 6-3 win in No. 2 singles. She also teamed with Jade Curtis, the second-ranked doubles duo nationally, for an 8-5 decision in No. 1 doubles.
The rest of the top eight also remained the same. The Sunbirds again hold down the No. 2 spot with 272 points despite three-straight defeats, albeit against stiff competition. Those losses have come to the NCAA Division II Nos. 4 and 5 teams in Armstrong Atlantic (Ga.) and Hawaii Pacific and NCAA Division I New Mexico.
No. 3 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) collected 263 points, fueled by 10-consecutive wins since a 9-0 defeat to defending NCAA Division II national champion Barry University (Fla.) on Feb. 5. The Eagles are followed by No. 4 Oklahoma Christian with 254 points and No. 5 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) with 245 points.
The biggest upward movements in the poll were seen at the end of the Top 25, where Westmont (Calif.) and Oklahoma Baptist both entered the poll in a tie at No. 21 after going unranked in the March 6 poll. Westmont shutout Biola (Calif.) 9-0 on March 13 in its most recent outing, improving to 3-5 in Golden State Athletic Conference action. Meanwhile, Oklahoma Baptist topped Bethel (Ind.) 9-0 on March 13 before falling to then-No. 9 Southern Nazarene (Okla.) and No. 3 Embry-Riddle in its next two matches.
SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) fell the hardest in this week’s poll, going from No. 19 to the receiving votes category. The Bees are out of the rankings for the first time this season and were joined by Belhaven (Miss.) (No. 21) and Webber International (Fla.) (No. 23) as squads that spiraled from the poll.
The third newcomer to the rankings is No. 24 Xavier (La.), which is 3-14 overall. However, nine of the 14 losses have come at the hands of NCAA Division I opponents and the other five have been suffered while up against teams ranked in the NAIA Top 25.
Eight of the 13 conferences/independents/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll with the Golden State Athletic Conference leading all leagues with six Top 25 members: Fresno Pacific, Azusa Pacific, No. 6 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), No. 8 Concordia (Calif.), No. 15 Vanguard (Calif.) and Westmont.
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 April 3.
Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) pushed its NAIA-leading all-time No. 1 appearances to 61 … 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 … Westmont (Calif.) is ranked for the first time since March 22, 2011 … Oklahoma Baptist is appearing in the rankings for the first time since the preseason, while Xavier (La.) is back in the Top 25 for the first time since March 8, 2011.
|RANK||PVS||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (11)||12-1||281|
|2||2||Fresno Pacific (Calif.)||12-3||272|
|5||5||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||10-1||245|
|6||6||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||8-3||236|
|9||10||William Carey (Miss.)||6-5||204|
|10||9||Southern Nazarene (Okla.)||1-2||203|
|11||11||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||2-2||184|
|12||14||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||8-2||179|
|14||16||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||4-10||164|
|18||18||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||4-3||125|
|19||20||St. Thomas (Fla.)||2-2||110|
Others receiving votes: Belhaven (Miss.) 69; Webber International (Fla.) 57; SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 38; Indiana Southeast 33; Bethel (Kan.) 27; Taylor (Ind.) 8; Northwood (Fla.) 8; Northwestern Ohio 5; The Master's (Calif.) 3; Cumberlands (Ky.) 1; Milligan (Tenn.) 1; Nebraska Wesleyan 1.