SOMERSET, N.J. – Fresh off its sixth Northeast Conference Championship last year, the Quinnipiac University women's tennis team was recently deemed the 2012 NEC Coaches' Poll favorite, announced Friday by the league office. The Bobcats earned eight first-place votes in the census.
2011 NEC runner-up Fairleigh Dickinson claimed the remaining three first-place tallies and was tabbed second in the poll. Sacred Heart, LIU Brooklyn and Mount St. Mary's round out the top five, while Robert Morris, Saint Francis (Pa.), Monmouth, St. Francis (N.Y.) and Wagner conclude the bottom half. Bryant is ineligible to compete in the NEC Tournament until 2013 and was not included in the poll.
The spring season is already underway at a number of schools, all in preparation for the 2012 NEC Championships this spring. The event returns to the Mercer County Tennis Center in West Windsor, N.J. on April 20-22. The winning team will earn the NEC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament field.
Head Coach Mike Quitko and the Bobcats will be extremely reliant on the development of their deep freshman class. Despite the graduation of three All-NEC honorees and several first-year members, the Bobcats do return a veteran corps who are excited to take the court this Spring.
Junior Sarah Viebrock (Carmel, N.Y.) and sophomore Lavinia Cristescu (West Hartford, Conn.) were both first team All-Conference recipients last season at the #4 and #6 flights, respectively. Viebrock won 18 matches on the year and was 6-1 in league play, while Cristescu posted a 5-1 NEC mark.
Junior Rachel Cantor (Short Hills, N.J.) also earned postseason recognition in 2011, teaming with Adrienne Markison to collect All-NEC Second Team Doubles accolades. Jacqueline Raynor (Garden City, N.Y.) has provided a spark in her freshman season, taking home NEC Rookie of the Month honors for September.
The most successful NEC women's tennis program of the last decade, Quinnipiac will look to match Mount St. Mary's league record of seven conference titles this April.
QU returns the court on Sunday, February 26 with its NEC opener against Saint Francis (Pa.). First served is set for 9 a.m.
2012 NEC Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches Poll (First Place Votes)
1. Quinnipiac (8)
2. Fairleigh Dickinson (3)
3. LIU Brooklyn
5. Mount St. Mary's
6. Robert Morris
7. Saint Francis (PA)
9. St. Francis (NY)
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu