April 03, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Since Feb. 9, 2010, Fresno Pacific (Calif.) is the only team to hold down the top spot in the NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. With the release of the fourth-regular season edition of 2012, the Sunbirds made their 20th-straight appearance at No. 1, the national office announced Tuesday. Fresno Pacific collected all 10 first-place votes, making it a unanimous selection in each poll this season. The Sunbirds improved to 17-1 with three more wins over Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) rivals since the release of the previous poll on March 20.
The rest of the top five teams also retained their positions. Like Fresno Pacific, squads ranked Nos. 2 through 5 have anchored the same poll position in each of the five releases in 2012. No. 2 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) received 242 points despite having its 11-match win streak interrupted by NCAA Division II fourth-ranked Lynn (Fla.) on Sunday. No. 3 Oklahoma Christian, whose only three losses have come to teams ranked in the top five in either NCAA Division II or the NAIA, pulled in 232 points. No. 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and No. 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) again round out the top five with 228 and 215 points, respectively.
Embry-Riddle topped Oklahoma Christian 5-4 on March 21 in the biggest showdown over the past two weeks. The battle between two of the NAIA’s top three teams featured a singles match of No. 1 versus No. 2. Bruno Tiberti of Oklahoma Christian, the second-ranked singles player according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), upset No. 1 Chris Freeman, 7-5, 6-3. The two squads would go on to split the six singles matches before Embry-Riddle claimed victory by taking two of three in doubles play.
No. 15 Belhaven (Miss.) continued its ascent up the poll two weeks after climbing eight spots. The Blazers jumped two positions this week to tie No. 23 Northwestern (Ohio) for this edition’s largest leap. Red-hot Belhaven defeated then-No. 22 Shorter (Ga.), 7-2, on March 30 and then pushed its win streak to eight by squeaking by then-No. 15 Lee (Tenn.), 5-4, on March 31.
That loss played a part in Lee’s three-spot drop to No. 15, the largest fall this week. The Flames had been ranked no lower than No. 17 in any of this season’s previous polls.
All ranked squads from the third regular-season poll remained in the Top 25 this week.
Eight of the 13 conferences/independents/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll with the Golden State Athletic Conference leading the pack with six ranked members: Fresno Pacific, Azusa Pacific, No. 6 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), No. 7 Vanguard (Calif), No. 8 Westmont (Calif.) and No. 10 Concordia (Calif.). The Southern States Athletic Conference is next in line with five Top 25 teams.
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 17.
Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Fresno Pacific (Calif.) increased its all-time No. 1 appearances to 20, which trails only Auburn Montgomery’s (Ala.) NAIA-leading 27 No. 1s and Azusa Pacific’s (Calif.) 23 top mentions … Oklahoma City’s 13 No. 1 rankings are fourth most, followed by SCAD Savannah (Ga.) with two … The Sunbirds’ active streak of 20-straight No. 1 rankings is second all-time behind Auburn Montgomery’s streak of 21-consecutive top ratings, which spanned the 2007 – 2009 seasons … Fresno Pacific has now been the preseason No. 1 for three-straight years and became the sixth preseason top selection to go on to win the national title in 2011 … Auburn Montgomery was the last to accomplish the feat prior to Fresno Pacific, as the Warhawks did so in 2008.
|RANK||PVS||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Fresno Pacific (Calif.) (10)||16-1||250|
|4||4||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||15-1||228|
|5||5||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||10-7||215|
|6||7||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||9-6||211|
|11||11||William Carey (Miss.)||11-2||174|
|12||12||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||13-4||163|
|20||20||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||6-4||93|
|21||21||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||6-6||89|
|22||23||Webber International (Fla.)||14-5||74|
|24||24||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||5-7||61|
Others receiving votes: Pikeville (Ky.) 41; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 35; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 35; McPherson (Kan.) 33; Biola (Calif.) 21; Northwood (Fla.) 19; Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) 3; Mobile (Ala.) 3; Taylor (Ind.) 1; Indiana Southeast 1; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 1; Cumberlands (Ky.) 1.