May 22, 2012
By -, -
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – No team other than Fresno Pacific (Calif.) had appeared at No. 1 since the end of the 2009 regular season. The Sunbird reign came to an end on Tuesday as Oklahoma Christian garnered top billing for the first time in school history in the NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced. The national champion Eagles collected all 12 first-place votes for 312 total points in jumping from third to No. 1.
Oklahoma Christian, led by NAIA National Coach of the Year Kris Miller, rises to the top after an incredible title run that included improbable comebacks in both its 5-4 semifinal win over Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and the tension-filled 5-4 title match victory over Fresno Pacific on Saturday. The Eagles became just the second team ever, and the first since the Sunbirds in 2009, to defeat both the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds on the way to a national title. Oklahoma Christian also won the 2003 title when it started the season ranked No. 20, before climbing as high as No. 2 in the final poll of the regular season.
The Eagles’ ascension breaks up what had been the exact same top five for the entire 2012 season. Fresno Pacific, the national runner-up, moved back to second with 302 points after holding down the top spot for 23-straight polls – an NAIA men’s tennis record. No. 3 Embry-Riddle also drops back one spot with 292 points, ending a run of 13-consecutive polls at No. 2. Meanwhile, Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) hold steady at Nos. 4 and five, receiving 282 and 272 points, respectively.
Only modest shifts occurred throughout the rest of the rankings. Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), which advanced to the second round of the National Championships, tied Oklahoma Christian for the largest jump among ranked teams by creeping up two positions. On the other hand, No. 11 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), previously ranked ninth, is the only squad to fall more than one spot.
The lone newcomer to the Top 25 is Spring Arbor (Mich.), which fell 7-2 to Aquinas (Mich.) in the first round at the National Championships. Spring Arbor is back in the rankings for the first time since landing at No. 25 in the 2012 preseason edition. The Cougars replace Lee (Tenn.) (No. 25) in the poll.
Ten 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.), Point Loma Nazarene and No. 12 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.
Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Oklahoma Christian, whose highest-ever ranking was No. 2 on four occasions, is making its first appearance at No. 1 in school history … Auburn Montgomery’s (Ala.) 27 top mentions are the most all-time, followed by Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Fresno Pacific (Calif.), who each have 23 … Oklahoma City has appeared at No. 1 a total of 13 times, while SCAD Savannah (Ga.) has topped the poll twice … The Sunbirds’ streak of 23-straight No. 1 rankings, starting with the 2009 preseason poll and ending with the 2012 final regular-season poll, broke Auburn Montgomery’s NAIA men’s tennis record of 21-consecutive top ratings, which spanned the 2007 – 2009 seasons … Fresno Pacific has 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||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||3||Oklahoma Christian (12)||20-3||312|
|2||1||Fresno Pacific (Calif.)||25-2||302|
|4||4||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||21-3||282|
|5||5||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||17-8||272|
|9||10||William Carey (Miss.)||17-5||228|
|10||12||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||19-6||219|
|11||9||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||13-11||217|
|19||19||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||11-9||131|
|20||21||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||15-5||126|
|23||23||Webber International (Fla.)||15-7||88|
|24||RV||Spring Arbor (Mich.)||24-3||73|
|25||24||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||7-9||69|
Others receiving votes: Lee (Tenn.) 66; Pikeville (Ky.) 48; Biola (Calif.) 27; Hastings (Neb.) 16; McPherson (Kan.) 14; Bethel (Tenn.) 11; Asbury (Ky.) 11; Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) 8; Northwood (Fla.) 5; Graceland (Iowa) 3; SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 3; Davenport (Mich.) 1; Georgetown (Ky.) 1; Oklahoma Baptist 1.