By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After claiming its 10th national championship in the last 12 seasons, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) is back in the top spot in the 2015 NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Warhawks etched 343 points and all 13 first-place votes after clawing their way to a 5-4 triumph over defending champion Georgia Gwinnett on May 17 at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.
Today’s poll snaps Georgia Gwinnett’s nine-straight No. 1 rankings, dating back to the Postseason Poll on May 21, 2014 – a streak that earned the Grizzlies second all-time in consecutive No. 1s behind Auburn Montgomery (47 in-a-row).
Auburn Montgomery (23-4) exploded out to a 2-1 doubles lead thanks to victories in the No. 2 and No. 3 slots. The teams of Kelly Southwood and Celine Lenertz, followed by Claudine Maheu and Alice Baudeigne, sparked the early lead with 8-2 and 8-3 triumphs, respectively.
In singles play, the match got notched at two apiece thanks to a 6-1, 6-0 run-away by Valeria Podda of Georgia Gwinnett over Baudeigne in No. 1 singles. Auburn Montgomery responded quickly with two-consecutive wins (6-0, 6-1; and 6-1, 6-1; by Southwood and Maheu, respectively) to push the Grizzlies to the edge of defeat.
The loss for the now second-ranked Grizzlies (11-7 and 332 points) was the first the program suffered in eight tries in their two-straight years at the national championship (7-1; and last year’s crown).
Following the flip at the top of the poll, the rest of the top five includes national semifinalist and third-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (17-8; 317 points). In at No 4. Is semifinalist Xavier (La.) (17-10; 314 points) and fifth-ranked SCAD Savannah (Ga.) (13-5; 299 points).
There was a lot of shuffling in the Top 25 today, as only eight schools remained in their positions from the final regular-season poll on May 4.
No. 13 Westmont (Calif.) was the biggest riser on the day, jumping from No. 17. Conversely, Concordia (Calif.) fell three spots from No. 13 to No. No. 16.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions. For the entire 2015 NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) New No. 1 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) takes the top spot from No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett, and leads all NAIA programs with 73 all-time No. 1 rankings… The Warhawks are followed by the Grizzlies and Brenau (Ga.) with 12, former-member Fresno Pacific (Calif.) with eight and Xavier (La.) with five… Auburn Montgomery topped each poll from Feb. 11, 2004, to May 1, 2010, a span of 47-straight No. 1 rankings, an NAIA record… The next closest streak is just nine by Georgia Gwinnett, followed by eight by Fresno Pacific, which garnered the top selection in all eight polls in 2011… Auburn Montgomery has been ranked among the top five since April 2, 2003…Auburn Montgomery is just the second team to be atop the poll this season (Georgia Gwinnett).
2015 NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll – (May 20)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014-15 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (13)||23-4||343|
|3||3||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||17-8||317|
|5||4||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||13-5||299|
|8||10||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||23-3||262|
|9||7||William Carey (Miss.)||12-8||260|
|15||16||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||8-13||186|
|23||22||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||16-7||99|
Others Receiving Votes: Indiana Wesleyan 68; McPherson (Kan.) 61; Aquinas (Mich.) 37; SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 28; St. Thomas (Fla.) 24; Missouri Valley 22; Campbellsville (Ky.) 12; Marian (Ind.) 8; Reinhardt (Ga.) 6.