FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - Mary Washington edged Christopher Newport for the top spot in the 2018 CAC Men's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Eagles received five first-place votes and 47 points, to narrowly edge the Captains (45 points, 3 first-place votes) atop the preseason rankings. CNU captured its first-ever CAC title last spring with a victory over UMW in the championship match.
Salisbury finished third in the voting with 37 points, while Southern Virginia (31 points) and York (23) were projected as playoff teams 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 have now opened up their spring campaigns, with CAC play set to begin in late March. The CAC Tournament will begin in late April, with the championship match slated for Saturday, May 5.
2018 CAC Men's Tennis Preseason Poll
Points (First-Place Votes)
|1.||Mary Washington||47 (5)|
|2.||Christopher Newport||45 (3)|
|7.||Penn State Harrisburg||12|
Below is a brief preview of each team entering the 2018 campaign:
CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT welcomes back five of six singles starters and four of six doubles starters from the CAC Championship squad last spring. Five All-CAC performers return for the Captains, headlined by David Reed and Justin Cerny, who have occupied the top spots in the lineup for CNU each of the last three seasons. Other returning All-CAC performers include William Trang, Andy Mason, Dominic Lacombe.
Aaron Wilf is entering his second spring as the head coach of the FROSTBURG STATE tennis programs and he continues to rebuild the program with young and talented players. Junior Shasta Braithwaite led the Bobcats last spring with seven wins, all coming at No. 1 singles. This fall, Braithwaite was undefeated (3-0) at No. 1 singles and he added another win at No. 1 doubles. Senior Aaron Beckner is coming off a three-win spring campaign, while senior Nate Farlow will see an increased role on the court after teaming with Braithwaite for a No. 1 doubles win in the fall.
MARY WASHINGTON is looking to bounce back after a tough loss last year in the CAC championship. Leading the charge back to the top is the returning CAC player of the year, Matt Miles. Coach Todd Helbling also brings back All-CAC performers Michael Fleming, Patrick Hughes, Derek Hagino, and Ryland Byrd. The Eagles have 13 teams ranked in the top 40 by the Oracle ITA featured on their regular season schedule.
PENN STATE HARRISBURG will open its spring season on Sunday, March 4 in Hilton Head, S.C. The Lions welcome back six returners from last spring to this year's squad.
ST. MARY'S is heading into its third season under coach Tyler Robinson and is looking to forward to bringing every starter back this season. Sophomore Jonathan Gorel will come back as the lone returning all-CAC finisher and once again will take the top singles spot. Ethan Garren, Kyle Van Winter, James Loftis and Connor McKissick will all look to improve on their records from last year. Loftis, Van Winter and McKissick will all look to lead the Seahawks as captains. The Seahawks went 2-0 in the fall season.
SALISBURY's youth a year ago will serve as its backbone in 2018. The Sea Gulls return four players for their sophomore seasons who appeared in at least half of the team's matches last year. Three of the four earned All-CAC honors as freshmen. Colt Williamson held the top singles spot for the Sea Gulls through most of the season and was named to the All-CAC First Team for singles player and to the Second Team with Patrick MacLean for their doubles efforts. The pair was joined in the All-CAC ranks by Ian Siew, who was named to the Second Team for his 12-6 mark in singles play. Classmate Matthew Ryan came on strong at the end of the 2017 season after injury to post an 8-4 mark in singles competition.
SOUTHERN VIRGINIA returns both TJ Snelson and Zac Bowers for the 2018 season. During the 2017 season, Snelson won 11 singles matches and 13 doubles matches. Bowers won 13 singles matches and 12 doubles matches. Both Bowers and Snelson were named to the Capital Athletic Conference Weekly Honor roll during the 2017 season.
YORK will look to make another CAC Tournament appearance in 2018 after advancing to the semifinals last season. The Spartans posted a 4-3 mark in the fall season. The Spartans return all six starters from last year's squad, including Devin Lehigh, Sam Innerst, Ben Sentz, Lukas Olson, and Sam Price.