GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – After finishing last season as the divisional runner-up, the Penn State Abington Nittany Lions have been picked to finish first in the 2017 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Women’s Tennis Preseason Poll, according to rankings completed by the league’s coaches.
The top two spots in the poll were as tightly contested as last season’s division championship match, Penn State Abington edging out defending NEAC West champion Penn State Berks by three points. Penn State Abington received five first-place votes and 35 points to claim the top spot in this year’s poll. Reigning NEAC Player of the Year Honora Hegarty (Abington, Pa.) returns to lead Penn State Abington from the first singles slot after posting an 8-3 record overall and a 5-1 mark against conference opponents last season. Hegarty will also compete as part of the Nittany Lions’ top doubles duo after going undefeated in seven NEAC matches in 2015-16.
A pair of First Team All-Conference seniors in Janie Saile (Huntington Valley, Pa.) and Madison Kimball (Jenkintown, Pa.) will also return with Saile slated to compete at No. 2 doubles and Kimball primed to help the Nittany Lions from the No. 6 singles spot. Senior Sally Phung (Philadelphia, Pa.) will round out Penn State Abington’s group of veterans in search of a divisional title. Head coach David Sheaffer, the 2015-16 NEAC Coach of the Year, will lead his team through a schedule which includes non-conference matches against Wilkes University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Randolph Macon College.
Reigning divisional champions Penn State Berks received two first-place votes and a total of 32 points to place second in the preseason poll. Head coach Scott Yarnell will turn to the trio of sophomores Kianna Anderson (New Holland, Pa.), Caroline Bashore (Hamburg, Pa.) and Tessa Caltagirone (Reading, Pa.) to guide the team back to the conference tournament. Anderson, who was named last season’s NEAC Rookie of the Year, is coming off a season in which she earned Third Team All-Conference honors in first singles and Second Team honors in first doubles. Anderson is expected to complete in the top singles and doubles spots this season after her successful rookie campaign. Last season, Bashore paired with Anderson to earn Second Team All-Conference accolades in first doubles. Bashore also represented Penn State Berks on the Second Team in fourth singles. Senior Erin Ginther (Collegeville, Pa.) will serve as the Nittany Lions’ veteran leader after receiving First Team All-Conference honors in sixth singles and a Second Team nod in third doubles at last season’s championship tournament.
While Lancaster Bible College and Penn College each earned 18 points, the tie is broken by higher ordinal number points. The Chargers received two third-place votes to claim fourth place in the poll, while the Wildcats earned one third-place vote to finish fifth. Bryn Athyn College placed sixth with 12 points, while the College of St. Elizabeth closed out the seven-team field with six points.
The full women’s tennis preseason rankings can be found below:
|Rank||Institution (First-Place Votes)||Total Points|
|1||Penn State Abington (5)||35|
|2||Penn State Berks (2)||32|
|4||Lancaster Bible College ^||18|
|5||Penn College ^||18|
|6||Bryn Athyn College||12|
|7||College of Saint Elizabeth||6|
^Tie broken by higher ordinal number points
The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC women’s tennis coaches, with each coach ranking out all teams but their own using a staggered points system (six points for a first-place vote, five points for second place, etc.). The complete 2016-17 women’s tennis composite schedule is available on the NEAC website here.
The North Eastern Athletic Conference has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University - Abington, Pennsylvania State University - Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse & M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse & M Volleyball), Penn State Altoona (M Volleyball) and Rutgers University - Camden (M Golf). The North Eastern Athletic Conference has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of men’s and women’s tennis. For more information, please visit www.neacsports.com.
*Beginning with the 2010 season, the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) in the sport of men’s and women’s tennis. The NEAC will compete as associate members of the NAC in men’s tennis, while the NAC will compete as associate members of the NEAC in women’s tennis. Members from each conference will be divided into an East and West Division for each sport, with each division holding a championship and the two divisional champions then facing off to determine the conference champion. The conference winner for each sport will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships.
A complete breakdown of the NEAC/NAC tennis partnership is as follows:
Men's Tennis: NEAC members Bryn Athyn, Lancaster Bible, Penn College, Penn State Abington and Penn State Berks will play as associate members of the NAC in a West Division. The East Division will consist of NAC members Castleton, Colby-Sawyer, Green Mountain, Johnson State, Lyndon State, MCLA and Thomas.
Women's Tennis: NAC members Castleton, Colby-Sawyer, Green Mountain, Husson, Johnson State, Lyndon State, MCLA and Thomas will play in the NEAC as associate members in the East Division. The West Division will consist of NEAC members Bryn Athyn, College of St. Elizabeth, Lancaster Bible, Penn College, Penn State Abington, Penn State Berks and Wells.
For more information, please visit www.neacsports.com.