Men's Tennis Selected Second in South Atlantic Conference Preseason PollJanuary 24, 2012
Atema, Mehagic and Gonzalez Earn Preseason All-Conference Honors
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Following last season’s twelfth consecutive trip to the NCAA and earning a No. 29 national ranking, the Anderson men’s tennis team has been picked to finish second in the South Atlantic Conference this season by the league’s coaches.
Bolstered by the return of eight letterwinners from last season’s 14-9 squad that posted a 7-2 record in the conference, coach Joey Eskridge’s Trojans garnered four first-place votes and were edged for the top spot in the poll by Wingate.
The Bulldogs, champions of the 2011 SAC regular season, received five first-place votes for a total of 94 points, slipping past Anderson, which claimed last year’s Food Lion SAC Tournament, as the Trojans tallied 92 total points.
Anderson defeated Queens in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament before falling to a then-undefeated Armstrong Atlantic squad. The Trojans will be led by a pair of Preseason All-Conference First Team selections in Stan Atema, who is ranked 13th in the Southeast Region, and junior Deni Mehagic. Atema posted a 13-7 singles record during the 2011 campaign, while Mehagic notched a 15-5 record last season.
Another junior, Daniel Gonzalez joined the duo on the all-conference team, earning Second-Team All-SAC accolades after posting a 14-8 singles record last season.
Lincoln Memorial was picked third in the preseason poll, followed by Brevard at No. 4. Both teams return key contributors as junior Philipp Hoffmann, who was selected on the Preseason All-Conference First Team, is expected to lead the Railsplitters while 2011 SAC Freshman of the Year Sam MacNeil will pace the Tornados.
Mars Hill received one first place vote in the preseason coaches’ poll and is part of a three-way tie for fifth along with Newberry and Tusculum.
The Wolves placed one player on the preseason All-SAC First Team in Vinicius Botelho.
Catawba was tabbed eighth in the preseason poll, totaling 32 points, while Carson-Newman was slotted in the No. 9 position with 26 points.
Rounding out the preseason poll is Lenoir-Rhyne at No. 10.
Anderson begins its season on Monday, Feb. 2, when the Trojans visit NCAA Division I opponent USC Upstate in Spartanburg.
The league’s top-six teams will qualify for the 2012 Food Lion SAC Championship, which will be held on April 19-21 at the Rock Hill Tennis Center in Rock Hill, S.C.
SAC Men’s Tennis Preseason Coaches Poll
Team Points (1st-Place)
1. Wingate 94 (5)
2. Anderson 92 (4)
3. Lincoln Memorial 79
4. Brevard 55
5. Mars Hill 54 (1)
5. Newberry 54
5. Tusculum 54
8. Catawba 32
9. Carson-Newman 26
10. Lenoir-Rhyne 10
Preseason All-SAC First Team
Stan Atema, Anderson
Deni Mehagic, Anderson
Sam MacNeil, Brevard
Philipp Hoffmann, Lincoln Memorial
Vinicius Botelho, Newberry
Matthew Lichtenstein, Wingate
Drew Owen, Wingate
Flavio Rathsam, Wingate
Preseason All-SAC Second Team
Daniel Gonzalez, Anderson
Beau Wills, Brevard
Thomas Mitchell, Catawba
Tommy Brennan, Lenoir-Rhyne
Tom Goossens, Lincoln Memorial
Enrico Patriarca, Mars Hill
Lucas Simm, Mars Hill
Michael Saunders, Newberry