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Menís Tennis Top 25 Poll Ė Final

May 07, 2012
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By Jake Knabel, NAIA Communications & Sports Information Intern

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fresno Pacific (Calif.) maintained its hold on the top spot for the 23rd-straight NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll and will enter NAIA National Championships play at No. 1 for the third-consecutive season, the national office announced Monday. The Sunbirds collected all 12 first-place votes for 312 points. Fresno Pacific finished the regular season with a record of 22-1 and an unbeaten 14-0 Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) mark. Sunbird standout Nathan Martinet took the final NAIA Player of the Week award by winning a singles title at the Ojai Tournament April 26 – 29.

Qualifiers for the 61st annual NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championships will be announced today (May 7) by 5 p.m. CDT on NAIA.org. The pairings and bracket will be released Tuesday by 5 p.m. CDT.

In a poll that saw very little change, 23 of 25 teams retained the exact same positions they held in the May 1 release, and the top-five squads have not differed the entire 2012 season (eight polls). No. 2 Embry-Riddle (Fla.), idle since capturing The Sun Conference Tournament title on April 21, gathered 302 points. Third-ranked Oklahoma Christian, who won its unaffiliated group tournament by shutting out then-No. 24 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), 9-0, in the championship match on April 27, notched 290 points in the poll.

Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) again take the Nos. 4 and 5 spots in the rankings with 284 and 272 points, respectively. The Cougars, who stand at 19-2 overall, finish their regular-season slate today with a GSAC match versus No. 9 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.). Meanwhile, the Warhawks await their National Championship placement after concluding the season with a narrow 5-4 victory over then-No. 11 William Carey (Miss.) in the title match of the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament on April 21. With the win, Auburn Montgomery clinched its 13th-consecutive National Championship appearance.

The only fluctuation occurring in the poll was the flip-flop of No. 21 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and No. 22 Shorter (Ga.). The Tigers breezed through the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship with 5-0 victories over Purdue Calumet (Ind.) and Judson (Ill.) on the way to the tournament title.

Not a single program dropped from the rankings this week.

Nine 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 Vanguard (Calif.), No. 8 Westmont (Calif.), No. 9 Point Loma Nazarene and No. 11 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 postseason poll will be released on May 22.

Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Fresno Pacific (Calif.) increased its all-time No. 1 appearances to 23, which trails only Auburn Montgomery’s (Ala.) NAIA-leading 27 No. 1s and ties Azusa Pacific (Calif.) for second with 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 23-straight No. 1 rankings breaks Auburn Montgomery’s NAIA men’s tennis record 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 … Thirty-one different schools have appeared in at least one poll this season.

RANK LAST WEEK SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) RECORD TOTAL POINTS
1 1 Fresno Pacific (Calif.) (12) 22-1 312
2 2 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 18-3 302
3 3 Oklahoma Christian 16-3 290
4 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 19-2 284
5 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) 16-7 272
6 6 Vanguard (Calif.) 14-10 262
7 7 Xavier (La.) 17-7 252
8 8 Westmont (Calif.) 11-9 241
9 9 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 12-10 227
10 10 William Carey (Miss.) 16-4 225
11 11 Concordia (Calif.) 8-12 209
12 12 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 18-5 207
13 13 Aquinas (Mich.) 25-2 190
14 14 Bethany (Kan.) 21-3 184
15 15 Belhaven (Miss.) 15-3 172
16 16 Cumberland (Tenn.) 17-2 162
17 17 Warner (Fla.) 13-4 149
18 18 Campbellsville (Ky.) 14-6 143
19 19 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 11-9 129
20 20 Northwestern Ohio 19-7 121
21 22 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 15-4 110
22 21 Shorter (Ga.) 12-15 105
23 23 Webber International (Fla.) 15-7 88
24 24 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 7-7 67
25 25 Lee (Tenn.) 9-8 63

Others receiving votes: Spring Arbor (Mich.) 56; Pikeville (Ky.) 55; McPherson (Kan.) 50; Biola (Calif.) 30; Bethel (Tenn.) 8; Northwood (Fla.) 7; Asbury (Ky.) 6; Hastings (Neb.) 5; Davenport (Mich.) 3; Graceland (Iowa) 1; Georgetown (Ky.) 1; Oklahoma Baptist 1; Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) 1; SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 1.