Written by Joe Gabbert
The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s mens tennis team has been picked to finish sixth out of six ranked team in the preseason poll of the Summit League’s head coaches. This will be the second season the Mavericks will participate in Summit League competition. The women’s team ranked second to last in the preseason poll ranking 6 out of 7 teams.
Denver was ranked first in both the men and women’s poll. In the men’s poll Denver was picked first by five of the six coaches and finished with 25 total points, six more than the next closest team in IUPUI, which was the only team with another first place vote. South Dakota State, Fort Wayne, Western Illinois and Omaha finished with 18, 14, 8 and 6 points respectively.
Last season, the Mavericks finished with a 5-16 record overall, and an 0-5 record in conference play, which put them in last place by a sizeable margin over the next three teams, all of whom finished 2-3.
This will be the first season the Denver Pioneers compete in the Summit league, and they will return three letter winners from last year’s WAC championship team. Last season IUPUI was the runner up in the championship.
Both the men and women’s teams in Denver begin the season with a national ranking. The men come in at 57th and the women at 62nd. Denver’s national rankings are a first for Summit League tennis teams entering a season.
In the women’s ranking, Denver also garnered all but one of the first place votes, beating Fort Wayne’s total 36 to 31. Fort Wayne raked in the only other first place vote. South Dakota State with 25 points finished third and South Dakota with 20 was fourth. IUPUI squeezed past Omaha for fifth at 15 points compared to 14. Western Illinois with five rounded out the poll in seventh.
The women did not fair quite as poorly as the men last season. They finished sixth of eight, with a record of 7-14 overall and 2-5 in conference.
Tiffany Hottman and Molly Matricardi who were the best doubles team last season with a record of 10-7 and 4-3 in conference play and will both be returning as sophomores this season. They both finished with a record of 10-11 overall in doubles last year. Tiffany finished 3-3 in conference singles, and Molly 3-4. Alex Tran finished 4-2 in conference singles, which ranks first on the team. She will return as a senior this season.
Both teams will strive to exceed expectations as the season starts. The men’s team will begin the season on Jan. 31 at Hanscom Brandeis Tennis Center against Nebraska Wesleyan at 7 p.m. The women’s team will start Jan. 23, hosting Southeast Missouri State at Hanscom Brandeis Tennis Center at noon.