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CLEVELAND – The two-time defending Mid-American Conference tournament champion University of Akron women's tennis team was picked to capture both the 2013 regular-season title and league tournament championship in a preseason poll released by the conference office on Friday.
Voting is conducted by the league's head coaches.
Akron, which defeated Youngstown State 4-3 on Thursday and has won seven of its last eight matches, earned five first-place votes in the poll and also received four tallies as the predicted winner of the league tournament championship to be hosted by Ball State in Muncie, Ind., on April 26-28.
"I am honestly surprised at having our team picked to finish first this season," third-year UA head coach Brandon Padgett said. "It is an honor that the other coaches around the conference feel that we have the potential to win the championship. I feel that this season will be a battle for each team, and that any of the other programs have a legitimate chance of winning as well."
This is the second-straight season in which Akron was chosen as the predicted winner of the conference's regular-season race as well as tournament champ. The Zips have finished each of the last two years in second-place in the league standings, and won the conference championship as a No. 2 seed. The Zips' tournament championships in 2011 and 2012 are the only two in program history.
UA begins MAC play at home on March 22 versus Northern Illinois at 1 p.m. ET.
2013 Mid-American Conference Tennis Preseason Poll:
1. Akron – 65 (5 first-place votes)
2. Miami –57
3. Bowling Green –54
4. Eastern Michigan – 46
5. Western Michigan – 43
6. Buffalo – 39
7. Ball State – 22
8. Northern Illinois – 19
9. Toledo – 15
(total points based on 9 for a first place vote; 8 for second place, etc.)
Predicted Tournament Winner (votes): Akron (4)