January 15, 2013

Women picked fourth, men eighth in preseason tennis polls

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

GREELEY – With the start of the 2013 tennis season just around the corner, the Big Sky Conference announced Tuesday the preseason polls as voted on by the league's head coaches of both the men's and women's program.

The Northern Colorado women have been picked fourth behind Sacramento State, Northern Arizona and Montana, earning the highest-ever preseason ranking since joining the Big Sky. Twice before, in both 2008 and 2010, the Bears were picked fifth.

"We have worked hard to achieve the things we have achieved," Women's Head Coach Brenda Vlasak said. "We have a great group of talented young ladies that can be very successful this season. It's exciting to be ranked fourth, but our girls understand that nothing will be handed to us and we need to work extra hard both on and off the court in order to be successful."

The men's team was voted eighth by the other coaches, one spot up from where they've been picked each of the last two years, however the Bears are ahead of the two new teams in the conference in North Dakota and Southern Utah.

"We are excited about the new season," Men's Head Coach Tim Bearman said. "We hope to build on some success that we had last season. Hopefully, we will continue to improve in the conference standings. However, no one on this team will be happy with eighth place. We want to play at the end of April in California."

The men have six letterwinners coming back from 2012, but are still a fairly young squad with only two seniors – one of which is Brandon Lupo, who was named to the Big Sky All-Conference Second-Team.

Their season gets underway on Jan. 26 when they host Seattle at Work Out West, beginning at 1 pm. The women kick off the 2013 season at Colorado on Feb. 1.

The women also return six letterwinners from a season ago, including 2012 Second-Team All-Big Sky selection Chrissie Hoolahan, who will be a sophomore.

MEN'S POLL

 

WOMEN'S POLL

 

Team

Points

Team

Points

1. Sacramento State

99 (9)

1. Sacramento State

100 (10)

2. Montana

91 (2)

2. Northern Arizona

87 (1)

3. Eastern Washington

74

3. Montana

86

4. Weber State

68

4. Northern Colorado

69

5. Idaho State

66

5. Montana State

63

6. Northern Arizona

58

t6. Eastern Washington

44

7. Montana State

53

t6. Weber State

44

8. Northern Colorado

36

8. Idaho State

37

9. Portland State

30

9. Portland State

28

10. North Dakota

17

10. North Dakota

27

11. Southern Utah

13

11. Southern Utah

20