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Menís Tennis Top 25 Poll Ė No. 5

April 17, 2012
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By Jake Knabel, NAIA Communications & Sports Information Intern

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Yet another victory over an NCAA Division II foe (six this season) led to yet another unanimous top ranking for Fresno Pacific (Calif.) in the NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Sunbirds are appearing at No. 1 for the 21st-straight poll, tying Auburn Montgomery (No. 1 for all 2007 – 2009 polls) for the longest all-time streak of consecutive No. 1 rankings. Fresno Pacific, a unanimous top choice in each of this season’s six polls, is 20-1 overall, 12-0 in the Golden State Athletic Conference and carries a seven-match winning streak since falling to then-NCAA Division II third-ranked Armstrong Atlantic on March 13.

The rest of the top six teams also retained the positions they held down in the April 3 release. The top-five squads have gone unchanged the entire 2012 season. No. 2 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) reeled in 302 points in the poll after shaking off an 8-1 loss to Armstrong Atlantic on April 12 by posting a 5-0 victory over NCAA Division II 18th-ranked St. Leo (Fla.) on April 14. No. 3 Oklahoma Christian, winner of seven-straight matches, tallied 291 points. No. 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and No. 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) round out the top five with 283 and 271 points, respectively.

Auburn Montgomery also fell victim to Armstrong Atlantic, falling 9-0 to the highly-ranked NCAA foe on March 28. Since then, the Warhawks have responded with three-consecutive wins over ranked opponents to improve to 3-0 in the month of April. They began the stretch with a 6-3 victory over No. 12 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on April 3. Auburn Montgomery followed that performance with an 8-1 defeat of No. 25 Shorter (Ga.) on April 14 and a 6-3 triumph over No. 11 William Carey (Miss.) on Sunday. Warhawk freshman Nicolas Pinones-Haltenhoff (No. 18-ranked in singles) went 2-0 in singles and doubles over the past week, highlighted by a win over William Carey’s Jody Claassen, the sixth-rated singles player in the NAIA by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

No. 7 Concordia (Calif.) makes the biggest splash this week with a jump of three spots from its position two weeks ago. The Eagles topped a pair of teams that were previously ranked ahead of them, eking out 5-4 decisions over then-No. 9 Xavier (La.) on April 4 and over then-No. 7 Vanguard (Calif.) on April 9. Concordia is now 8-9 with five of its losses coming against NAIA top-10 squads. No. 8 Xavier, No. 18 Campbellsville (Ky.) and No. 19 Martin Methodist (Tenn.), who each advanced one spot, were the only other teams to move up in this week’s poll.

A total of 16 squads ranked in the Top 25 carried over their exact ranking from the April 3 edition and not a single school fell from the poll, although No. 25 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) is new to the rankings having tied Shorter with 60 points.

No. 9 Vanguard, No. 10 Westmont (Calif.) and No. 18 Lee (Tenn.) experienced the largest declines, with each falling back two spots.

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.), Concordia, Vanguard and Westmont (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 May 1.

Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Fresno Pacific (Calif.) increased its all-time No. 1 appearances to 21, 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 21-straight No. 1 rankings ties Auburn Montgomery’s 21-consecutive top ratings, which spanned the 2007 – 2009 seasons, for an NAIA record … 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 … The release of the fifth regular-season poll edition marks the second-straight poll in which no team has dropped from the rankings.

1 1 Fresno Pacific (Calif.) (12) 19-1 312
2 2 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 15-2 302
3 3 Oklahoma Christian 14-3 291
4 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 17-2 283
5 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) 13-7 271
6 6 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 12-7 261
7 10 Concordia (Calif.) 8-9 248
8 9 Xavier (La.) 14-7 242
9 7 Vanguard (Calif.) 10-9 235
10 8 Westmont (Calif.) 8-8 219
11 11 William Carey (Miss.) 14-3 213
12 12 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 16-5 205
13 13 Aquinas (Mich.) 19-1 190
14 14 Bethany (Kan.) 13-3 184
15 15 Belhaven (Miss.) 14-2 172
16 16 Cumberland (Tenn.) 12-1 160
17 17 Warner (Fla.) 11-3 152
18 19 Campbellsville (Ky.) 12-4 131
19 20 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 7-4 129
20 18 Lee (Tenn.) 8-7 113
21 21 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 6-6 109
22 23 Northwestern Ohio 16-4 105
23 22 Webber International (Fla.) 14-6 104
24 24 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 8-7 74
25 25 Shorter (Ga.) 11-14 60
25 RV Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 11-3 60

Others receiving votes: McPherson (Kan.) 55; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 42; Pikeville (Ky.) 36; Northwood (Fla.) 17; Biola (Calif.) 15; Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) 10; Taylor (Ind.) 1; Asbury (Ky.) 1; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 1; Davenport (Mich.) 1.