By Nikki Sherrill, Athletics Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Coming off its second title in three years as a program, Georgie Gwinnett enters the 2017 season as the preseason No. 1 in the NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. Earning all 13 first-place votes and 343 points, the Grizzlies take the top ranking for the fourth-straight installment. The first regular-season edition will be released Tuesday Feb. 14.
Top 25 Highlights
• After its second national championship last May, the Grizzlies enter the 2017 season as the preseason No. 1 in the NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. Georgia Gwinnett earned all first-place votes to maintain its position for the fourth-straight installment of the poll.
• The Grizzlies took home the red banner after outwitting the Blue Raiders of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 5-4, in the championship match of the 2016 NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship to win their second title in just three years as a program.
• Six returners for the Grizzlies will be back to see if Georgia Gwinnett can earn another title, led by senior Valeria Podda. The All-American looks to lead her squad another year after going 14-0 in singles play last season.
• The No. 2 preseason ranking goes to the national runner-up from last season in Lindsey Wilson (Ky.). The Blue Raiders finished their season at 21-5 to take home the programs first-ever second-place finish. Eight returners for Lindsey Wilson are back on the roster this season.
• No. 3 SCAD Savannah (Ga.), No. 4 Brenau (Ga.) and No. 5 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) round out the top five for this installment.
• Fourteen programs saw positive movement from their previous places in the poll, led by No. 11 Keiser (Fla.), which moved up six spots from its ranking at the end of last season. Arizona Christian is close by with a five point forward slide up to No. 13.
• Only McPherson (Kan.) saw a fall backwards, as it slipped two spots to No. 20.
• Three teams are making a new appearance since the last poll, as No. 18 San Diego Christian (Calif.), No. 24 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 25 Marian (Ind.) each are welcomed into the new edition for the start of 2017.
• Five teams hold steady at their ranking from the postseason – No. 12 William Carey (Miss.), No. 14 LSU Alexandria (La.); No. 15 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), No. 16 Mobile (Ala.) and No. 19 Xavier (La.).
• Twelve conferences/Association of Independent Institutions/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by four programs from the Southern States Athletic Conference.
• Former NAIA members Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and Fresco Pacific (Calif.) are the only teams to go the entire season ranked No. 1.
• Auburn Montgomery has the most all-time No. 1 rankings (80), followed by Georgia Gwinnett with 16, while Brenau (Ga.) is third with 12.
• Brenau also holds the record for most consecutive appearances in the Top 25 Poll with 96.
• The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.
• The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second-place and so on through the list.
• The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low ratings) is removed and the team’s ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appears on.
• Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered “receiving votes”
• For the complete Top 25 calendar, click here.
2017 NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Preseason (Jan. 24)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1st place votes)||WON||LOST||FINAL POINTS|
|1||1||Georgia Gwinnett (13)||18||2||343|
|2||2||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||21||5||332|
|3||4||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||17||1||321|
|5||6||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||15||2||297|
|6||7||William Woods (Mo.)||17||2||289|
|8||10||Middle Georgia State||15||8||263|
|12||12||William Carey (Miss.)||12||12||223|
|15||15||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||13||10||201|
|18||RV||San Diego Christian (Calif.)||4||9||150|
|22||23||St. Thomas (Fla.)||8||9||107|
Dropped from the Top 25: Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (21); Georgetown (Ky.) (25).
Receiving Votes: Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 66; Missouri Valley 64; Georgetown (Ky.) 43; Milligan (Tenn.) 27; Southeastern (Fla.) 18; Southwestern (Kan.) 12; Morningside (Iowa) 12; Asbury (Ky.) 12; Texas Wesleyan 11; SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 9; Campbellsville (Ky.) 5; Huntington (Ind.) 3; Dalton State (Ga.) 3
^ Ranking based off the NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Postseason (May 25)