May 01, 2012
By -, -
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) has finished the regular season at No. 1 in the NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll for the second time in three seasons, the national office announced Tuesday. With 13 first-place votes and 343 total points, the Warhawks have now been placed at No. 1 for seven-consecutive polls and are a unanimous top selection for the fourth-straight time. Auburn Montgomery has clinched its 12th berth all-time in the NAIA Tennis National Championships after recording a 6-1 victory over No. 7 Brenau (Ga.) in the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Championship on April 21.
No changes occurred throughout the rest of the top 16 and Nos. 1 through 5 remained the same for the fifth week-in-a row. No. 2 Fresno Pacific (Calif.), which earned 332 points in the poll, finished its all-time Golden State Athletic Conference record at an unblemished 102-0, including a 16-0 mark this season. The Sunbirds received an automatic bid to the National Championships by winning the regular-season title. No. 3 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) also grabbed an automatic bid, doing so with a 5-1 win over No. 13 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) in The Sun Conference Tournament Championship on April 21.
The fourth and fifth spots are once again held down by Oklahoma Christian and Azusa Pacific (Calif.) with 309 and 300 points, respectively. Oklahoma Christian lost just a single match in breezing past then-No. 23 Oklahoma Baptist and No. 10 Southern Nazarene (Okla.) to win its unaffiliated group tournament championship. Azusa Pacific concluded GSAC play at 13-2, good for second place behind Fresno Pacific.
Xavier (La.), ranked for just the second poll this season, made the biggest waves this week by jumping from just outside the Top 25 on April 17 to No. 19 in this final regular-season edition. The Gold Nuggets have just a 7-21 overall mark, but faced one of the nation’s most difficult schedules, which included 10 NCAA Division I opponents. Xavier will head to the National Championships for the sixth time in eight seasons after upsetting then-No. 17 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) in its respective unaffiliated group tournament championship match on April 28.
Xavier is the only newcomer to the Top 25 as the Gold Nuggets replaced Davenport (Mich.) (No. 25) this week. Martin Methodist’s loss to Xavier pushed it back four spots to No. 21, marking the largest fall among ranked teams.
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 No. 20 Westmont (Calif.).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groupings. The final poll will be released on May 7.
Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) pushed its NAIA-leading all-time No. 1 appearances to 64 … 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 … Auburn Montgomery, Fresno Pacific, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and Oklahoma Christian have been rated 1 through 4 in all seven polls this season … Xavier’s (La.) No. 19 ranking is its highest since appearing at the same spot on May 4, 2010.
|RANK||LAST||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (13)||22-2||343|
|2||2||Fresno Pacific (Calif.)||20-4||332|
|5||5||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||17-3||300|
|6||6||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||16-5||285|
|9||9||William Carey (Miss.)||14-9||252|
|10||10||Southern Nazarene (Okla.)||12-5||246|
|11||12||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||15-3||227|
|13||13||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||9-3||210|
|14||14||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||7-14||200|
|21||17||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||11-4||129|
|22||21||Robert Morris (Ill.)||17-2||125|
|23||22||St. Thomas (Fla.)||5-4||102|
Others receiving votes: Northwestern Ohio 66; Davenport (Mich.) 45; Webber International (Fla.) 31; Belhaven (Miss.) 31; Nebraska Wesleyan 17; Bethel (Kan.) 15; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 11; Missouri Valley 6; Georgetown (Ky.) 5; Indiana Southeast 5; Milligan (Tenn.) 3.