TOWSON, Md. – The Landmark Conference men's tennis coaches voted and it appears there may be a changing of the guard. Catholic University was picked to win the 2014 Landmark title, which if proves true, would end Drew University's streak at six straight Landmark titles and 13 consecutive conference championships.
The Cardinals earned four first place votes and 59 points to sit atop the preseason poll. Juniata College was picked second with two first place votes and 41 points while Moravian College was picked third with 39 points. Drew rounded out the top half of the poll with a first place vote and 34 points.
Catholic (12-7, 5-2) is hopeful that the team will be competing for its first Landmark Conference title this year. The Cardinals return first-team All-Landmark performer, Brian Bradley, for his senior season. Catholic head coach Marty Dowd welcomes Juan Paul Lorido who had a fantastic rookie campaign in the fall, being named the Landmark Player of the Week twice.
Juniata (13-7, 4-3) earned just its second berth in the Landmark tournament last year after tying the program record for wins in a season with 13. The Eagles lost two from their top six, but return seniors and All-Landmark honorees Justin Wisniewski and Elliott Perow. Head coach Jason Cohen and his team hope to return to the conference playoffs this season.
The Greyhounds (7-10, 4-3) posted a 1-1 mark in their fall season and the spring roster will be bolstered by the return of Landmark All-Conference Second Team Doubles squad member junior Lewis Cooper, who missed the fall season while playing soccer. Sophomores Matt Turoto and John Wylie also made the All-Conference Second Team a year ago and will bolster the Greyhounds' line-up in both singles and doubles action.
With the departure of three-time Landmark Conference Player of the Year, Raul Smego, the Rangers (12-7, 6-1) turn to returning veterans and anxious newcomers to fill the void. Young but ready to compete the Rangers look to remain atop the Landmark standings. Senior Vin Mahon and junior Scott Vander Veen are expected to lead the charge.
The University of Scranton (8-5, 6-1) was picked fifth in the poll with 33 points. Goucher College (5-14, 1-6) received the final first place vote to go along with 28 total points to finish sixth. Susquehanna University (6-11, 2-5) was selected seventh with 15 points and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (2-9, 0-7) grabbed the eighth spot with seven points.
The 2014 spring season kicks off Feb. 26 when Moravian travels to Baptist Bible (Pa.). The other teams begin competition over the next several weeks before everyone is in action by Mar. 20.
The top four teams in the final regular season standings qualify for postseason play in the Landmark Conference Tournament. The top two seeds will host semifinals Apr. 23 with the highest remaining seed scheduled to host the championship Apr. 26. The conference champion will earn the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
|2014 Landmark Men's Tennis Preseason Poll|
|Rank||Institution (First Place)||Points|