2015 NAIA Women?s Tennis Coaches? Top 25 Poll ? Feb. 17
By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, MO. – For the sixth time in school history, Georgia Gwinnett is the No. 1 team in the 2015 NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Grizzlies earned the top-billing by snatching all 13 first-place votes and 343 points.
Georgia Gwinnett (2-0) is off to a steady start this year after claiming its first national championship a season ago over Embry-Riddle (Fla.), 5-4, in the NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship final on May 17, 2014. The top squad began its 2014-15 slate by defeating Point (Ga.) handily, 9-0, on Jan. 30. Most recently, the No. 1 ranked team throttled Middle Georgia State, 8-1 on Feb. 1.
The Grizzlies have lost just one match at GGC Tennis Facility since the start of the 2014 season, and with the aforementioned victories, they have won six-consecutive dating back to last year’s national championship. The last loss for Georgia Gwinnett was a 5-3 decision on the road at Xavier (La.) in last season's Unaffiliated/Independent tournament. The Grizzlies are now 17-2 all-time against NAIA competition and 11-3 versus schools from the state of Georgia.
Up next for the top team is a bout with NCAA Division II Clayton State (Ga.) on Feb. 25.
The 2014 national runner-up – Embry-Riddle – holds on to the No. 2 position with 332 total points. The Eagles – 18-6 a year ago – are off to a 3-1 start this season. Embry-Riddle’s first loss came at the hands of NCAA Division II No. 1 and defending national champion Barry (Fla.) on Feb. 13. The Buccaneers were too much for the Eagles, running away, 9-0.
Embry-Riddle looks to bounce back on Thursday against Southeastern (Fla.).
The rest of the top five mirrors both the 2015 Preseason Poll and the 2014 Postseason Top 25 Poll on May 21, 2014, as No. 3 is Xavier (La.) (321 points), fourth-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (310 points) and No. 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (299 points) hold strong to their respective positions.
The Warhawks’ streak of consecutive top five’s continues, as they have been ranked among the top five since April 2, 2003.
No. 6 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) was the first program to shuffle spots within the rating, moving up from No. 8 in the preseason ranking. No. 10 Arizona Christian, who was unranked in the Jan. 27 release, vaults all the way into the top 10 thanks to a 5-0 start.
Fifteenth-ranked Vanguard (Calif.) fell the furthest of any school, down from No. 11.
Two additional teams – No. 19 Graceland (Iowa) and No. 23 William Carey (Miss.) also jumped into the Top 25.
Eleven conferences/Association of Independent Institutions/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by four programs from the Golden State Athletic Conference, Southern States Athletic Conference and The Sun Conference. The unafilliated group of American Midwest/A.I.I./Cascade/Frontier/GCAC is second with three teams ranked.
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.
The second regular-season Top 25 Poll will be released March 3.
Notes: (All information as of the 2000 season) Georgia Gwinnett earned its sixth all-time No. 1 ranking this week after winning its first-ever national championship in 2014… All four of the Golden State Athletic Conference’s ranked squads range from No. 10 – No. 15… No. 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) leads all NAIA programs with 72 all-time No. 1 rankings… The Warhawks are followed by 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 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… Three teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2014: Auburn Montgomery, Georgia Gwinnett and Xavier.
2015 NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (Feb. 17)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014-15 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Georgia Gwinnett (13)||2-0||343|
|4||4||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||1-1||310|
|5||5||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||1-2||299|
|6||8||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||3-2||283|
|18||18||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||6-1||143|
|20||17||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||2-5||137|
|23||RV||William Carey (Miss.)||0-2||94|
Others Receiving Votes: Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 72; McPherson (Kan.) 55; Cumberland (Tenn.) 41; St. Thomas (Fla.) 37; LSU Alexandria 21; Evangel (Mo.) 18; Georgetown (Ky.) 8; Aquinas (Mich.) 7; Ashford (Iowa) 4;Bethel (Kan.) 3.
^ 2015 NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Jan. 27)