The USA South Athletic Conference released its preseason coaches' polls for men's and women's tennis on Wednesday afternoon. The Covenant men were picked to finish ninth, while the women were selected to place eighth by the league's head coaches.
The 2013-14 season is the first for Covenant in the USA South and as full members of NCAA Division III.
On the men's side, N.C. Wesleyan received nine of 10 first place votes and 81 points as head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting. Methodist finished second in the balloting with 72 points and the final first place vote. Placing third in the poll with 58 points was Huntingdon followed closely in fourth by Piedmont who grabbed 57 points. LaGrange ranked fifth with 41 points.
Methodist was selected to win the conference on the women's side by picking up 12 of the 13 first place votes. Meredith finished second in the balloting with 129 points and the final first place vote. Placing third in the poll with 120 points was Huntingdon while Piedmont College came in at fourth with 107 points. Maryville College ranked fifth with 95 points.
Under second year head coach John Hirte, both Covenant teams will look to improve in their new conference. The women return top players Gretchen Rowe, Sarah Carter, Catherine Landers and Madeline Hyatt along with a host of newcomers looking to make an immediate impact. The men had a rough 2013 campaign, but Hirte is excited about his recruiting class.
Covenant will play its first season of home matches on campus this spring. Construction is nearly complete on the six-court complex.
The men begin their season on Feb. 8 at Gadsden State, while both teams play at home for the first time on Feb. 15 against Birmingham Southern.