TOWSON, Md. – The University of Scranton women's tennis team was picked to repeat as Landmark Champions in 2014, but there are a number of potential contenders. The seven first place votes were split amongst four teams in the poll. The two-time defending champion Royals earned four first place votes and 54 points to lead the group. Juniata College was picked second with one first place vote and 35 points while Goucher College finished third in the poll with a first place vote and 34 points. Catholic University and Moravian College tied for fourth with 32 points. Catholic received the final first place nod.
The Royals (10-8, 4-2) return all six players from last year's singles lineup on a team that won its second straight Landmark Conference title and won an NCAA Tournament match. Junior Megan Azzalina went 3-0 during the fall and is poised for a strong year. The depth and experience in the lineup makes Scranton a strong contender for its third straight conference title.
With no losses from the last year's team that made the Landmark playoffs for just the second time in program history, Juniata (13-6, 3-3) is poised to challenge for a league title. Picked to finish last in the 2013 preseason poll, the Eagles outperformed all assumptions and finished fourth. Juniata tied the program record for wins in a single season with 13. The Eagles hope to build on last year's success this spring.
Goucher (12-5, 5-1), which reached the conference finals last season, will have several new additions to this year's team, including a totally revamped doubles lineup. The Gophers will be strong at the top, led by regionally-ranked Amanda Bercovici, and they will have the potential to contend for a top four spot if they receive sufficient contributions from the bottom of the lineup
The Cardinals (14-4, 5-1) are looking to bounce back after being knocked out of the conference semifinals a year ago as the No. 2 seed. Catholic had a strong non-traditional season, going 6-1 in the fall, and the team hopes the experience will carry over into the spring. After losing All-Landmark performer Marge Selinger to graduation, CUA is looking to find a formidable replacement in the No. 1 singles and doubles position. Seniors Andie Ingram, Caitlin Porter, Elaina Sceusa, and Isabel Tanco will provide leadership for the 2014 season.
Moravian (10-3, 3-3) had a strong fall season, posting a 7-0 mark while working seven new players into the squad, including three starters in fall matches. Moravian has a strong non-conference schedule in Florida during spring break before opening Landmark Conference action Mar. 15.
Susquehanna University (10-5, 1-5) was picked sixth with 18 points while Drew University (1-8, 0-6) wrapped up the poll in seventh with 12 points.
The 2014 spring season kicks off Mar. 3 when Moravian kicks off a series of spring break matches in Tampa, Fla. The other teams begin competition throughout the month of March before everyone is in action by Mar. 21.
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. 22 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 Women's Tennis Preseason Poll|
|Rank||Institution (First Place)||Points|