Suffolk University, the 2010 GNAC Champions, has been selected as the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Men’s Tennis preseason favorite in a vote conducted by GNAC coaches. Emerson College was edged to second place by one point, while Johnson & Wales took third and Norwich rounded out the rankings in 4th place.
1. Suffolk (15)
2. Emerson (14)
3. Johnson & Wales (9)
4. Norwich (8)
#1 Suffolk University
Coming off a perfect season and a 2010 GNAC Championship title, Suffolk hopes to continue their successful campaign in 2011. This marks the second consecutive season that Suffolk has been predicted to finish top of the conference.
Although losing standout Jared Okin and Justin Ayoub to graduation, the Rams have three returning all-conference players and talented seniors leading the way this season. The Rams will be led by senior John Samander, who was named to the 2nd Team All-Conference while going a combined 16-0 in both singles and doubles play. Also returning for the Rams is sophomore Harlan Strander who was named Co-Rookie of the Year in 2010 and posted an astonishing 8-0 singles record;and junior Chris Staley who was named to the 2010 First-Team All-Conference, and honored as Rookie of the Year in 2009.
Suffolk begins their season on March 26th against Norwich University at 1:00pm.
#2 Emerson College
Emerson College finished the 2010 season as runner-up of the GNAC Championship. The Lions had a nerve-wrecking season last year where five of their matches came to a score of 5-4, however, in 2011 they look to increase the winning margin with a highly experienced roster under Head Coach Mason Astley.
Regardless of losing their top player to graduation and another to transfer, Emerson looks to senior Ken Nikravesh at the #1 singles slot. Nikravesh concluded the 2010 season with a record of 4-2 in singles play and 5-2 in doubles. Additionally, the Lions will have sophomores Dan Lapidus and Mitch Lance to lead the team. Both players earned accolades their rookie season, with Lapidus selected to the GNAC 2nd Team All-Conference and Lance going an undefeated 5-0 in singles. Although injured, senior captain Garrett Mercer will lead the team on and off the court this season.
#3 Johnson & Wales University
JWU concluded the 2010 season with a record of 3-7 and 2-2 in the GNAC. The Wildcats reached the Semi-Finals of the conference championship last year, but loss to 2nd seeded Emerson. Leading the 2011 are sophomores Tucker Plimpton and John Horton who had some critical singles’ victories for the Wildcats in 2010.
#4 Norwich University
The Cadets finished the 2010 season with an overall record of 7-4 and a conference record of 1-3. Norwich looks to have more successful season with several newcomers looking to the leadership of GNAC 2010 Player of the Year, Collin Hyte.
Norwich will open their season on March 9th at Castleton at 4:00pm.