KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the tenth-straight edition, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) sits atop the NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Eagles received nine first-place votes and 339 total points to earn their 13th all-time No. 1 ranking, dating back to 2000.
Embry-Riddle carries a 16-3 overall record into The Sun Conference Tournament, which begins Thursday, April 17. 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 defending national champions are unbeaten against NAIA competition this season and head into postseason play riding a season-long six-match winning streak. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) No. 1-ranked NAIA singles player, Deni Zmak, is one of three Eagles ranked among the Top 50 players in the NAIA, along with Jaime Canamares (No. 24) and Simon Felix (No. 38). Zmak and Felix also make up the ITA’s No. 1 NAIA doubles tandem.
The Warhawks of Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) inched closer to the Eagles, accumulating 333 points, including two first-place votes, to hold the No. 2 ranking for the tenth-consecutive poll. The Warhawks have now been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in 15-straight editions. Auburn Montgomery is 17-3 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 have two more regular-season matches scheduled—April 16 at NCAA Division II Lee (Tenn.) and April 22 at Loyola (La.)—before the start of the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament on April 25.
Georgia Gwinnett was No. 3 once again after accruing 324 points and two first-place votes. The No. 3 ranking, which the Grizzlies first earned on March 18 and have held for three-straight polls, is the highest in Georgia Gwinnett program history. The Grizzlies wrapped up a perfect regular season by defeating NCAA Division III then-No. 7 Emory (Ga.) (8-1) on April 3—their tenth win over a ranked opponent this year. Georgia Gwinnett next put its 14-0 record on the line during its unaffiliated grouping tournament beginning April 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 third-straight edition with 310 and 299 points, respectively. Vanguard has won eight-straight matches and is 16-4 on the year heading into the GSAC Tournament beginning April 15. Westmont carries a six-match win streak and a 14-5 record into the event. Both teams received byes to the tournament semifinals on April 16 as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.
There were no newcomers to the Top 25 for the third time this season and no teams moved more than one position within the poll.
Nine of the 13 conferences and unaffiliated groupings are represented in the fifth regular-season poll, led by five teams from the Southern States Athletic Conference.
The sixth regular-season Top 25 poll will be released on April 29.
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 13 times, including 10-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 and Oklahoma City and Embry-Riddle with 13 apiece … 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… Embry-Riddle has been No. 1 throughout 2014.
2014 NAIA Men’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 5 (April 15)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (9)||339|
|2||2||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (2)||333|
|3||3||Georgia Gwinnett (2)||324|
|7||6||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||277|
|13||13||William Carey (Miss.)||208|
|20||19||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||139|
|22||23||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||107|
|22||22||Webber International (Fla.)||107|
Others Receiving Votes: Indiana Wesleyan 55; Cumberlands (Ky.) 50; Campbellsville (Ky.) 27; Missouri Valley 23; Biola (Calif.) 13; McPherson (Kan.) 12; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 8; St. Francis (Ill.) 7; SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 5; Indiana Tech 5; Huntington (Ind.) 4; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 3.