January 27, 2012

Tennis Picked to Repeat as MAC Champ in League Preseason Poll

Akron Selected Tops In MAC Women's Tennis Preseason Poll (MAC-Sports.com)

CLEVELAND
– The defending Mid-American Conference tournament champion University of Akron tennis team was picked to capture both the 2012 regular-season title and league tournament championship in a preseason poll released by the conference office. Voting was conducted by the league's head coaches.

Akron, which opened the season with back-to-back victories last weekend including at Big Ten foe Michigan State, earned six first-place votes in the poll and also received six tallies as the predicted winner of the league championship to be hosted by Northern Illinois on April 26-28.

The Zips won their first-ever MAC tournament title and made the program's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in May 2011. Miami (Ohio), which Akron defeated in last season's tournament final, was selected to finish second in the poll. MAC play begins for the Zips on Friday, March 23 versus the RedHawks in Akron.

"It's certainly an honor to be selected to finish first as well as to win the conference tournament," second-year Akron head coach Brandon Padgett said. "I'm proud of the team's accomplishments from last season. We are focused on improving every day and know that the MAC is extremely competitive. From what we have seen, each and every team in the league made serious strides forward and this season will be extremely difficult, but also a great deal of fun. We talk about enjoying the experience, while working hard toward the ultimate team goal – another MAC championship."

Akron returns five letterwinners from last season's championship team, which finished the campaign with a 20-5 overall record (7-1 MAC), the most victories in a season for the program since the 1990-91 squad finished 26-6. Included in that group is three-time MAC Player-of-the-Year recipient senior Zara Harutyunyan. Harutyunyan was also an All-MAC First Team selection each of the last three seasons.

UA, which defeated Oakland 7-0 last Saturday night and Michigan State 5-2 on Sunday afternoon, is idle until a Feb. 4 doubleheader at home versus IUPUI (10 a.m.) and Wright State (2 p.m.) at its indoor home of LaTuchie Tennis Center in nearby Stow, Ohio.

2012 Mid-American Conference Tennis Preseason Poll:
1. Akron – 70 (6 first-place votes)
2. Miami (Ohio) – 62
3. Western Michigan – 55
4. Toledo – 40
5. Bowling Green – 38
6. Eastern Michigan – 35
7. Buffalo – 30
8. Ball State – 16
9. Northern Illinois – 14

(total points based on 9 for a first-place vote; 8 for second place, etc.)

Predicted Tournament Winner (votes): Akron (6)