Nationally-Ranked Denver Tabbed as #SummitMTN Preseason Favorite

Nationally-Ranked Denver Tabbed as #SummitMTN Preseason Favorite

ELMHURST, Ill. – Denver is the favorites to claim the 2016 Summit League Men's Tennis Championship according to the preseason poll of league head coaches. The Pioneers are ranked No. 51 in the latest (Jan. 5) ITA Rankings and are two-time reigning champions after claiming both the regular season and tournament titles in each of their first two seasons in the league.

Denver received five-of-six first place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own team) for a total of 25 points. Oral Roberts claimed the remaining first-place vote and finished second with 19 points. South Dakota State and IUPUI were deadlocked at 16 points to finish tied for the third. Omaha (9) and Western Illinois (5) rounded out the poll.

#SummitMTN Preseason Notes

  • Denver is ranked No. 51 in the Jan. 5 ITA Team Rankings.
  • Denver's Diogo Rocha is ranked No. 45 nationally in singles by the ITA and No. 1 in the Mountain Region. Teammates Henry Craig and Alex Gasson are No. 11 in the ITA doubles rankings.
  • Denver has the top two players in the ITA Mountain Region singles rankings in Rocha (No. 1) and Craig (No. 2) along with No. 6 Yannik James and No. 11 David Fox. The tandems of Craig/Gasson are No. 2 in the region's doubles rankings while Rocha/James is No. 7.
  • Denver's Craig qualified for both the NCAA Singles Championships and with teammate Gasson, for the Doubles Championship. The tandem won their first round match to reach the final 16.
  • The 2015 Player of the Year (Craig) and Newcomer of the Year (IUPUI's David Beasley) return
  • Denver returns all four of its 2015 all-league performers (Craig, Gasson, James and Rocha) while IUPUI brings back the remaining two all-league selections (Beasley and Akshay Verma)
  • Denver's Rocha  led The Summit League with 20 singles victories, including a 5-0 league record, in 2015
  • All four players who compiled 5-0 Summit League singles records last season return (DU's Craig, Wyatt Lovera, Rocha and IUPUI's Beasley)
  • Denver enters the 2016 season with 11 consecutive Summit victories, the fourth-highest total in league history
  • The Pioneers have never lost a regular season or tournament match to a Summit League opponent
  • IUPUI is coming off its best regular season finish (4-2, t-2nd) since the 2011 season

#SummitMTN Schedule Notes

  • The regular season begins Jan. 15 with three matches: Oral Roberts at Tulsa, Omaha at North Dakota, and South Dakota State vs. DePaul
  • Omaha hosts its first Summit League Championship with both men's and women's tennis contested in a four-team, single-elimination format, April 29-30


2016 MEN'S TENNIS PRESEASON POLL

Rank

School (1st-place votes)

Pts.

2015 Record

1.

Denver (5)

25

18-9, 6-0 Summit

2.

Oral Roberts (1)

19

12-11, 3-3

3.

IUPUI

16

10-17, 3-3

South Dakota State

16

14-10, 3-3

5.

Omaha

9

3-21, 1-5

6.

Western Illinois

5

0-20, 0-6

 

Note: Coaches may not vote for their own teams


ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
In its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions along with over 75 Academic All-Americans, 65 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. In 2014-15, The Summit League ranked first for NCAA Graduation Success Rate in women's basketball and second in baseball. For more information about the league and to "See The Summit", visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.

#SummitMTN