Liberty shares the top spot with four-time defending ASUN champion North Florida in the preseason poll.
ASUN Preseason Poll
The Liberty women's tennis team has been voted to finish on top of the ASUN Conference, along with North Florida, in the 2019 ASUN Conference Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Lady Flames garnered three first-place votes and 57 points in the poll, which was released on Friday. Four-time defending ASUN champion North Florida received four first-place votes and 57 points as well, sharing the top spot with first-year ASUN member Liberty. Florida Gulf Coast (52 points) earned the other first-place vote and was picked to finish third in the league.
"We are humbled to share the top spot with North Florida, but this only means that we have to earn the respect of our peers this year with solid play throughout the season," stated Lady Flames seventh-year head coach Jeff Maren. "The girls are looking good this week, but it's only the beginning! We have a long way to go and a lot of things to improve upon."
Liberty's inaugural ASUN match will take place on Feb. 17 at FGCU. The Lady Flames' conference home opener will be against Lipscomb, March 30. The 2019 ASUN Women's Tennis Championship will be contested at Stetson (DeLand, Fla.) from April 18-20.
Lipscomb (fourth place, 37 points), Stetson (fifth place, 35 points), NJIT (sixth place, 24 points), Kennesaw State (seventh place, 18 points) and North Alabama (eighth place, eight points) round out the poll.
In 2018, Liberty posted an 18-9 overall mark and 7-1 record in league play in its final year in the Big South Conference. The Lady Flames' spring 2019 roster (nine players) features five seniors (Rebekah Anderson, Ashley Bongart, Anna Dollar, Maria Medina and Lara Soares), one junior (Kalani Soli), two sophomores (Nasha Ghajar and Grace Hashiguchi) and one freshman (Alexandra Almborg). Soares is currently the 64th-ranked singles player in the country, the highest national ranking of any player in program history.
Liberty will commence its spring 2019 season at Wake Forest (20-14, 5-9 ACC in 2018) on Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. The Demon Deacons were among others receiving votes in the first Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division I Women's Rankings of 2019, featuring the top-25 teams in the country. The Lady Flames will face the Navy Midshipmen (27-6, 5-1 Patriot League in 2018) in their first home contest, Feb. 2.
2019 ASUN Conference Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches Poll Team (first-place votes) Total Points
T-1. Liberty (3) 57 T-1. North Florida (4) 57 3. Florida Gulf Coast (1) 52 4. Lipscomb 37 5. Stetson 35 6. NJIT 24 7. Kennesaw State 18 8. North Alabama 8
Liberty Shares Top Spot With North Florida in @ASUNTennis Preseason Poll: https://t.co/c5OaG0fmXB pic.twitter.com/Wp3OFMnVBk — LU Women's Tennis (@LibertyWTennis) January 11, 2019
Liberty Shares Top Spot With North Florida in @ASUNTennis Preseason Poll: https://t.co/c5OaG0fmXB pic.twitter.com/Wp3OFMnVBk