FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- Mary Washington outdistanced Christopher Newport for the top spot in the 2019 CAC Men's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Eagles received seven first-place votes and 49 points, while the captains the Captains received 43 points and one first-place vote atop the preseason rankings. UMW defeated CNU by a 5-1 decision in last year's conference championship match as the Eagles captured their 22nd league title.
Salisbury finished third in the voting with 37 points, while Southern Virginia (30 points) and York (24) were projected in fourth and fifth place, respectively. St. Mary's was close behind York in sixth place with 21 points, while Penn State Harrisburg (12 points) and Frostburg State (8) rounded out the preseason rankings.
Most CAC teams will open up their spring campaigns this weekend, with CAC play set to begin in late March. The CAC Tournament will begin April 26, with the championship match slated for Saturday, May 3.
2019 CAC Men's Tennis Preseason Poll
Points (First-Place Votes)
|1.||Mary Washington||49 (7)|
|2.||Christopher Newport||43 (1)|
|7.||Penn State Harrisburg||12|
Below is a brief preview of each team entering the 2019 campaign:
1) MARY WASHINGTON welcomes all eight of their starters back to a team that won the CAC Championship last season. All eight of those players were All-CAC selections, most notably is two-time CAC Player of the Year, Matt Miles. Seniors Patrick Hughes, Derek Hagino, and Ryland Byrd will look to lead the Eagles into the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season.
Number of returning starters: 8
Returning All-CAC performers:
SINGLES (Matt Miles, 1st Pos., CAC Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018, CAC Rookie of the Year in 2016, 1st Team All-CAC in 2016, 2017, and 2018) (Joseph Brown, 3rd Pos., 1st Team All-CAC in 2018) (Ryland Byrd, 5th Pos. 2nd Team All-CAC in 2018) (Michael Fleming, 4th Pos., CAC Rookie of the Year in 2017, 1st Team All-CAC in 2017, 2nd Team All-CAC in 2018) (Derek Hagino, 5th Pos., Second Team All-CAC in 2017 and 2018, First Team All-CAC in 2016) (Patrick Hughes, 2nd Pos., First Team All-CAC in 2016, 2017, and 2018) (Cole Tecce, 6th Pos., 1st Team All-CAC in 2018)
DOUBLES (Matt Miles, 2nd Pos. 1st Team All-CAC in 2017 and 2018, 2nd Team All-CAC in 2016) (Ryland Byrd, 1st Pos., 1st Team All-CAC in 2017 and 2018) (Michael Fleming, 1st Pos., 1st Team All-CAC in 2017 and 2018) (Derek Hagino, 2nd Pos., 1st Team All-CAC in 2017 and 2018) (Patrick Hughes, 3rd Pos., 1st Team All-CAC in 2018, 2nd Team All-CAC in 2016) (Moses Hutchison, 2nd Pos., 1st Team All-CAC in 2018)
Returning All-Region performers:
ALL-STATE (Matt Miles, 1st Team for Singles and Doubles in 2017 and 2018) (Patrick Hughes, 1st Team in Singles and Doubles in 2017 and 2018) (Joseph Brown, 2nd Team in Singles in 2018) (Michael Fleming, 1st Team in Doubles in 2018, 2nd Team in Singles and Doubles in 2017) (Ryland Byrd, 1st Team in Doubles in 2018, 2nd Team in Doubles in 2017) (Derek Hagino, 1st Team in Doubles in 2017 and 2018) (Moses Hutchison, 2nd Team in Doubles in 2018)
2) CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT opens the 2019 spring schedule ranked No. 33 in the Oracle/ITA Preseason Poll after posting a 14-9 overall record last season. After losing a pair of All-Conference performers to graduation, the Captains added four freshmen to the fold this season. Rookie Mason Kolls led the way in the fall portion of the schedule, going 4-1 in both singles and doubles. Seniors Nicholas Ruzicka and William Trang anchor a talented returning group that also includes juniors Dominic Lacombe and Andy Mason. CNU will open the season on February 9 against Virginia Wesleyan.
3) SALISBURY returns nearly all of its players from the 2018 season in which the Sea Gulls went 16-6, matching the most wins for the program since the 2008 season. Salisbury played 130 singles matches, with the returning players accounting for 115 of them, led by reigning CAC Rookie of the Year Stefan Hein. Along with Hein, juniors Ian Siew and Colt Williamson have accounted for seven All-CAC awards. Williamson and Siew will open the year as the No. 14-ranked doubles duo in the nation.
Returning starters: 5
Returning All-CAC selections:
Stefan Hein, So. (ROTY, 2nd team singles)
Ian Seiw, Jr. (1st team singles, 2nd team doubles)
Colt Williamson (2nd team doubles)
4) The SOUTHERN VIRGINIA Knights come off the most wins in school history after winning 17 matches last season. Southern Virginia returns four of their top six players with VaSID Second Team All-State and Second Team All-CAC Paul Monson leading the Knights. The Knights also return Second Team All-CAC Ben Spencer. Southern Virginia will look to their new additions to build on last year's historic season.
5) The YORK men's tennis team went 5-2 during the fall with a roster loaded with experience. Junior Ben Sentz led the way during the fall as he went 6-1 at first singles for the Green and White. Senior Sam Innerst also had a strong fall as he went 6-1 at second singles. Senior Lukas Olson went 5-2 for the Spartans at third and fourth singles. The Spartan doubles squads went a combined 18-3 for the fall.
6) The ST. MARY'S Men's Tennis team is coming off a (5-10, 2-5 CAC) season last year but they return five of their seven members including their top two performers in Jon Gorel and Ethan Garren who both return for their junior seasons. The Seahawks went 1-2 this past fall as they defeated Catholic University but fell to Stevenson University and Gettysburg College. Gorel is the lone returning All-Conference performer from last year as he landed himself on the Capital Athletic Conferences second team. St. Mary's boasts a ten-man roster this year and are looking forward to welcoming first years Liam Murdoch and Sam Sheats.
7) PENN STATE HARRISBURG'S men's tennis team is coming off a promising fall that saw the Lions go 4-1 in non-conference action. The Lions earned 9-0 sweeps in victories over Albright, Alvernia and Arcadia, with the squad's lone defeat coming to Susquehanna in October. The Blue & White were led by top singles players Isaac George and Sachin Venkatesh. Newcomer Hyun Jun Kwon has also performed well through the fall as a freshman. The Lions return 4 of 6 singles players from 2017-18.
8) The 2019 version of the FROSTBURG Bobcats are loaded with seniors as Shasta Braithwaite, Nate Farlow, David Kramer, Abi Olojo and Derek Thompson all return for their final seasons for first-year head coach Jeff Splinter. Braithwaite and Farlow enter the spring after posting a 2-0 marks in the fall at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively. The duo's slate was also unblemished (2-0) at No. 1 doubles.