HAMDEN, Conn. - The Northeast Conference's women's tennis coaches have picked Quinnipiac as the preseason favorite to win the league, the conference office today announced. The Bobcats, which have advanced to the NEC Tournament Championship in 10 consecutive seasons, saw its streak of five straight titles snapped last season by Long Island. The Bobcats received five first-place votes, followed by LIU's four and Fairleigh Dickinson's one.
"I'm pleasantly surprised at the respect given to our team by the coaches of the NEC," said Quinnipiac Head Coach Mike Quitko. "I think now is the time that we have to go out and prove that we're worthy of the prediction."
Sacred Heart, Mount St. Mary's, Monmouth, Robert Morris, Saint Francis (Pa.), Wagner and St. Francis (N.Y.) rounded out the poll.
The Bobcats return their top four singles players from last season. Leading the group is senior captain Mary Wilson (Greensburg, Pa.), the 2008 Northeast Conference Player of the Year. Adrienne Markison (Princeton, N.J.), the 2008 NEC Rookie of the Year, returns to take her position in the No. 3 singles flight, while 2009 NEC Rookie of the Year Natalie Duckor (North Tustin, Calif.) secures the No. 5 flight for the Bobcats. Wilson, Markison and Duckor each were named All-NEC in singles last season. Wilson and Markison also paired to earn All-NEC Second Team honors at No. 1 doubles.
Lisanne Steinert (Glauchau, Germany) also returns after winning seven matches in 2008-09, most at the No. 4 singles flight. Newcomers Rachel Cantor (Short Hills, N.J.) and Sarah Viebrock (Carmel, N.Y.) round out the Quinnipiac singles line-up. Cantor made her presence felt immediately out of the No. 2 position for the Bobcats in the fall, winning four of seven NEC Rookie of the Week Awards. She also took one NEC Player of the Week Award. Meanwhile, Viebrock went 4-1 in singles in the fall, including the decisive victory in the Bobcats 4-3 win against intrastate rival UConn.
Senior captain Shawna Sarson (Albany, N.Y.), junior Ali Warshavsky (East Hartford, Conn.), sophomore Carly Loewenstein (Armonk, N.Y.) and freshman Erin Suvar (North Massapequa, N.Y.) provide great depth for the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac opens the 2010 portion of their schedule, Feb. 21, when they play host to Fordham. Matches are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.