Tennis Lady Bobcats picked sixth in MEC preseason coaches poll


BRIDGEPORT —The West Virginia State Yellow Jackets have been selected to win the 2020 Mountain East Conference women's tennis title after a vote by the league's coaches.

The Yellow Jackets landed atop the poll with 63 points, including seven first-place votes. WVSU is coming off a 19-6 season that saw it advance to the NCAA Sweet 16. Senior Kiersten Hensley returns for her senior season to lead the Yellow Jackets. Hensley won the singles title at the ITA Atlantic Region Tournament in the fall and is ranked No. 12 in the country in singles by the ITA. Chante Malo and Gaya Solomon will also look to help lead WVSU this spring.

Charleston finished second in the poll with 58 points and had two first-place votes.

The Golden Eagles will be led by junior Katie Swann, a two-time first-team All-MEC performer. Swann is ranked ninth in the Atlantic Region in singles by the ITA, and is ranked 16th in the nation in doubles with partner Haarini Balakrishnan.

West Liberty was third in the poll with 49 points. The Hilltoppers finished the fall ranked seventh in the region by the ITA.

First-team All-MEC performer Raissa Wagner returns to the lineup for West Liberty, along with returning starters Anita Ponti and Luisa Agudelo, and impressive newcomers Gemma Cliffe and Nathalia Valencia.

Fairmont State was picked fourth with 39 points. The Falcons' lineup features Isadora Matos, a second-team All-MEC selection last year, and Ainara Pastor Garcia, who is ranked fifth in the region by the ITA.

Davis & Elkins was fifth with 35 points. The Senators duo of Taylour Newman and Ester Bolmenas finished the fall season ranked ninth in doubles.

West Virginia Wesleyan was sixth in the poll with 32 points.

The Bobcats went 14-10 last year and 6-2 in conference play, and return second-team All-MEC players Cecila Martinez Oliver and Julia Yanes.

Notre Dame, led by two-time All-MEC honoree Laura Herrera and her 24 career singles win, was seventh in the poll with 24 points. Frostburg State was eighth (16 points) and Concord (8 points) was ninth.

The top five teams in the regular season advance to the MEC Tournament that will be held April 24-26 in Charleston, W.Va.

2020 MEC Women's Tennis Preseason Poll

1. West Virginia State — 63 (7)

2. Charleston — 58 (2)

3. West Liberty — 49

4. Fairmont State — 39

5. Davis & Elkins — 35

6. West Virginia Wesleyan —32

7. Notre Dame — 24

8. Frostburg State — 16

9. Concord — 8

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