By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the ninth-straight edition, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) sits atop the NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The defending national champion Eagles received nine first-place votes and 339 total points to earn their 12th all-time No. 1 ranking, dating back to 2000.
Embry-Riddle is undefeated in NAIA competition this year and boasts a 10-3 overall record. The Eagles’ three losses have come against NCAA Division II then-No. 1 Barry (Fla.) (9-0), then-No. 4 Lynn (Fla.) (6-3) and then-No. 8 St. Leo (Fla.) (5-4). The loss to the Lions of St. Leo on March 26 snapped the Eagles’ six-match winning streak.
The Warhawks of Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) accumulated 332 points, including two first-place votes, to hold the No. 2 ranking for the ninth-consecutive poll. The Warhawks have now been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in 14-straight editions. Auburn Montgomery is 16-3 on the year, with all three losses coming against ranked NCAA Division II opponents: then-No. 3 West Florida (8-1), then-No. 4 Lynn (5-4) and then-No. 1 Barry (8-1). The defending national runners-up are currently riding a four-match win streak.
Georgia Gwinnett accrued 325 points and two first-place votes en route to the No. 3 position. The No. 3 ranking, which the Grizzlies first earned on March 18, is the highest in Georgia Gwinnett program history. The Grizzlies are 13-0 on the season, including wins over nine ranked opponents: NCAA Division II then-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; then-No. 6 Xavier (La.) (6-1) on Feb. 16; NCAA Division II then-No. 7 Lander (S.C.) (5-4) on Feb. 20; NCAA Division III then-No. 5 Kenyon (Ohio) (5-4) on March 8; then-No. 25 Coastal Georgia (8-1) on March 12, NCAA Division II then-No. 2 Armstrong Atlantic (Ga.) (6-3) on March 13 and NCAA Division III then-No. 10 Middlebury (Vt.) (7-2) on March 25.
Two programs out of the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), No. 4 Vanguard (Calif.) and No. 5 Westmont (Calif.), round out the top five for the second-straight edition with 310 and 298 points, respectively. Vanguard is 10-4 on the year, having suffered losses to NCAA Division II then-No. 12 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (5-4), NCAA Division III then-No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) (6-3), NCAA Division III then-No. 4 Amherst (Mass.) (5-4), and NCAA Division II then-No. 10 Fresno Pacific (Calif.) (6-3).
Westmont, which has been ranked among the top five in 13-straight polls, holds an 8-5 record on the season. The Warriors are the only top five team that has lost to an NAIA opponent this season, dropping two GSAC matches to No. 4 Vanguard (5-4, 8-1). Westmont’s other losses have come against NCAA Division II then-No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6-3), NCAA Division II then-No. 12 Azusa Pacific (7-2) and NCAA Division III then-No. 4 Amherst (Mass.) (6-3).
Webber International (Fla.) was the lone newcomer to the Top 25. This is the first Top 25 mention for the Warriors since May 22, 2013, when they were ranked No. 25. Webber International has received votes in every poll this season, including being the top receiving-votes program in 3-of-4 prior polls this year.
Campbellsville (Ky.) (No. 24) fell out of the Top 25. The Tigers had been ranked in 22-straight polls, dating back to the 2012 Preseason Poll on Jan. 31, 2012.
Within the poll, No. 12 Bethany (Kan.) and No. 17 Warner (Fla.) moved up a poll-high two positions, while Xavier (La.) and Northwood (Fla.) each fell three spots, landing at No. 10 and No. 24, respectively.
Nine of the 13 conferences and unaffiliated groupings are represented in the fourth regular-season poll, led by five teams from the Southern States Athletic Conference.
The fifth regular-season Top 25 poll will be released on April 15.
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 12 times, including nine-straight… Auburn Montgomery’s (Ala.) 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 12… 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. 4 (April 1)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (9)||339|
|2||2||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (2)||332|
|3||3||Georgia Gwinnett (2)||325|
|6||6||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||289|
|13||12||William Carey (Miss.)||213|
|19||19||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||139|
|22||RV||Webber International (Fla.)||107|
|23||23||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||105|
Others Receiving Votes: Cumberlands (Ky.) 57; Indiana Wesleyan 41; McPherson (Kan.) 33; Campbellsville (Ky.) 24; Missouri Valley 23; Biola (Calif.) 12; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 12; St. Francis (Ill.) 5, SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 3; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 3, Mobile (Ala.) 3.