Denver Tabbed as #SummitWTN Preseason Favorite

Denver Tabbed as #SummitWTN Preseason Favorite

ELMHURST, Ill. – Four-time reigning champion Denver is the favorite to claim the 2018 Summit League Women's Tennis Championship according to the preseason poll of league head coaches. The Pioneers claimed both the regular season and tournament titles in each of their first four 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. South Dakota finished second with 19 points and one first-place vote. Omaha edged Oral Roberts by a single point for third place. Western Illinois and South Dakota State rounded out the poll.

The 2018 dual season begins Jan. 13 with Oral Roberts squaring off against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Tulsa in a pair of matches. League play begins March 17 with matches between Omaha and Western Illinois and South Dakota and Oral Roberts. The Summit League Championship will be hosted by Denver, April 27-28.  

2018 WOMEN'S TENNIS PRESEASON POLL

Rank

School (1st-place votes)

Pts.

2017 Record

1.

Denver (5)

25

19-7, 6-0 Summit

2.

South Dakota (1)

19

9-15, 4-2

3.

Omaha

16

6-16, 2-4

4.

Oral Roberts

15

14-11, 3-3

5.

Western Illinois

9

6-14, 3-3

6.

South Dakota State

6

2-19, 0-6

Note: Coaches may not vote for their own teams


#SummitWTN Players to Watch

Natalia Bravo, Western Illinois, So.

  • 2017 Summit League Newcomer of the Year and All-Summit League selection
  • Posted a 13-10 record at No. 2 singles, including five Summit League wins, as a freshman

Gorana Kadijevic, Oral Roberts, Fr.

  • Ranked among Croatia's top-50 players in 2015 and 2016

Jana Lazarevic, South Dakota, Fr.

  • Serbia's No. 1 ranked girls 18s player and has held a top-five national women's ranking

Michelle Lo, Omaha, Sr.

  • Three-time All-Summit League selection
  • Recorded a 12-9 record at No. 1 singles, including four Summit League wins, last season

Julia O'Loughlin, Denver, Sr.

  • Enters the season ranked No. 65 in ITA singles
  • Posted a 14-9 singles record, including a 5-0 Summit League mark, last season
  • 2017 NCAA All-American (doubles) after 19-3 record and quarterfinal appearance
  • 2016 Summit League Player of the Year

Note: Players to Watch selected by league's head coaches

#SummitWTN Preseason Notes

  • Denver seeks to become the first Summit League team to win five consecutive tournament titles since 2002 (Oral Roberts)
  • DU's doubles tandem of Bianca Mok and Camille Verden-Anderson is ranked No. 35 by the ITA
  • O'Loughlin (17-0) and Mok (11-0) enter the season tied for the highest career league singles winning percentage
  • DU coach Christian Thompson (25-0) owns the league's all-time best winning percentage and enters the season tied for the most regular season and tournament titles in league history (each four)
  • Thompson was selected by the ITA as the Mountain Region's top head coach last season while assistant David Loewenthal received the region's top assistant coach accolade
  • Seven of last season's 12 All-Summit League selections (Denver's Arisha Ladhani, Mok and O'Loughlin, Omaha's Lo, South Dakota's Barbora Kollarova and Nanette Nylund, and Western Illinois' Bravo) return in 2018

ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three 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), 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 with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.

#SummitWTN