By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Defending national champion Embry-Riddle (Fla.) rests atop the NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll for the sixth-straight edition, the national office announced Tuesday. The Eagles received all 12 first-place votes and 312 total points en route to ninth all-time No. 1 ranking dating back to 2000.
Embry-Riddle is 3-1 on the young season, including victories against St. Thomas (Fla.), NCAA Division II Flagler (Fla.) and NCAA Division II then-No. 9 Rollins (Fla.). The Eagles lone loss of the season came against top-ranked NCAA Division II Barry (Fla.).
Defending national runner-up Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) accumulated 301 points to hold the No. 2 ranking for the sixth-consecutive poll. The Warhawks have now been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in 11-straight editions. Auburn Montgomery (3-1) has won three-straight matches after falling to NCAA Division II No. 3 West Florida, 8-1, in its season opener on Feb. 7.
Checking in at No. 3 is Vanguard (Calif.) with 289 points. The Lions, who are led by 2013 First Team All-Americans Stefan Kilchofer and Roger Muri, are 2-1 on the year with both victories coming in Golden State Athletic Conference action.
No. 4 Georgia Gwinnett and No. 5 Westmont (Calif.) round out the top five with 280 and 277 points, respectively. Georgia Gwinnett, which made its first-ever appearance in the preseason edition, is 5-0 on the season, including four victories against ranked teams – NCAA Division II No. 21 South Carolina-Aiken, 9-0, on Feb. 9; then-No. 12 Belhaven (Miss.), 6-0, on Feb. 14; then-No. 13 William Carey (Miss.), 8-1, on Feb. 15; and then-No. 6 Xavier (La.), 6-1, on Feb. 16. Westmont, which has been ranked among the top five in 10-straight polls, boasts a 4-0 record, including a 5-4 win against No. 12 Concordia (Calif.) last Saturday.
No. 9 Belhaven’s three-spot jump highlighted the positive movement within the poll. Conversely, Bethel (Tenn.) dropped a poll-high three places from No. 10 to No. 13.
No new teams joined the Top 25.
Nine of the 13 conferences and unaffiliated groupings are represented in the Top 25, led by four teams each from the Mid-South Conference and the Southern States Athletic Conference.
The second regular-season Top 25 poll will be released on March 4.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and unaffiliated groupings. For the entire 2014 Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Embry-Riddle (Fla.) has claimed the No. 1 ranking nine times, including six-straight… Auburn Montgomery’s 29 top mentions are the most all-time… The Warhawks are followed by former-members Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Fresno Pacific (Calif.) with 23 each, Oklahoma City with 13 and Embry-Riddle with nine… Embry-Riddle is trying to become the seventh preseason No. 1 to go on to win the national title… The feat was last accomplished by Fresno Pacific in 2011… Two teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2013: Auburn Montgomery and Embry-Riddle.2014 NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 1 (Feb. 18)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (12)||312|
|2||2||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||301|
|6||6||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||259|
|15||13||William Carey (Miss.)||174|
|20||20||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||123|
|22||22||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||97|
Others Receiving Votes: Webber International (Fla.) 56; Indiana Wesleyan 47; St. Francis (Ill.) 25; Coastal Georgia 18; Missouri Valley 15; St. Thomas (Fla.) 14; Huntington (Ind.) 13; Cumberlands (Ky.) 3.