ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Carson-Newman men's tennis team was voted by the leagues' coaches to finish tenth place in the South Atlantic Conference preseason poll and the women ninth announced Friday.
The ladies went 7-10 during the 2017-18 season, 4-6 in conference play. They have made appearances the last two years in the South Atlantic Conference Quarterfinals after a seven-year hiatus. In the 2016-17 season they fell to Anderson (S.C.) 5-2 and last season fell to Tusculum 5-0. The men went 3-13 during the 2017-18 season, 1-9 in conference play.
"I think we're gonna surprise some people," head coach Jim Frederick said. "How much I don't know. My goal was always to get the kind of culture where you work as hard as you can and let the results fall where they may. We're not there yet, but we're getting there, we still have some work to do. But considering where the girls finished last year, and we're as good if not better this year, that's a little surprising. But that doesn't bother me, can't do anything about it and I kind of like proving people wrong."
The Eagles are returning six players including Ali Harris, a preseason second team All-Conference singles selection last season. Joining her are two juniors that also received preseason honors last season as second team All-Conference doubles in Klara Vuckovic and Alisa Liashova. Hannah Price, Abby Reis, and Claire Smith will be entering their second year as Eagles and newcomers Shelby Rodgers and Ana Carla Resende will make their debuts for C-N this season.
Coming in as the lone senior, Harris had a junior campaign that saw her rack up a 2-10 singles record, playing at the first and third positions. She was 1-7 as the top player for C-N and held the second-best winning record for doubles play on the team at 8-7. Alongside Mallory Jackson, the duo was 5-2 on the season in the bottom two doubles slots while going 2-5 with junior Alisa Liashova.
"Ali has experience from playing No. 1," Frederick said. "She's going to start out at two this year, so that should be better for her. The problem she's got to overcome is that she didn't play a match the whole fall. This weekend we're going to play, you can drill all you want but playing is the only thing that'll get you ready to play."
Liashova went 10-6 in the bottom half of the lineup and 5-12 in doubles spending time in all three positions. Vuckovic ended last season with a 5-5 singles record mostly played in the No. 6 position. She went 3-4 in doubles play, primarily at the third-seed and went 2-2 with Liashova.
For the returning sophomores, Price went 10-6 in singles play last season and saw most of her success at the No. 4 spot where she went 8-2. The Knoxville, Tenn. Native was 5-9 in doubles play as the second and third seeded positions. Reis finished her freshman season with an honorable mention on the doubles list from the conference with her partner Jill Corsato-Owsianka. She went 3-13 in singles and spent most of her time at the No. 2 spot.
"Ana Carla will start at one," Frederick said. "She's already had a great impact on the team. Besides how good a player she is, she's a better person. She's the nicest person, we hit a home run with her."
On the men's side, the Eagles are returning four players including two seniors in Jesus Bacete-Sanz and Marc Bantel, two juniors in Gabriel Dabdab and Joseph Stiles, and one sophomore in Daniel Cox. Newcomers Rintaro Oka and Hernon Toledo will make their debuts for C-N this season.
Bantel went 7-9 in singles play as a junior in the 2017-18 season mostly at the No. 2 spot. He went 3-13 in doubles play with Taylor Barie at No. 3. Bacete-Sanz went 4-12 in singles at the fifth and sixth position and played in all three doubles positions mostly with Dabdab going 7-5 and earning the pair preseason All-Conference second team doubles honors this season. Dabdab went 1-15 in singles last season.
Stiles went 2-5 at the No. 6 position in singles play and 3-1 in doubles at the No. 3 seed. Coach Frederick is excited about the newcomers and believes they will have a strong impact for the team.
"Right now, I don't know what our lineup will be, but I know what our doubles will be." Frederick said. "Dabdab and Jesus will play together, and if you look at it, we've got three freshmen in the lineup."
Transitioning from a student athlete role to a graduate assistant coach, former Eagle Stefano Daza joins new head coach Jim Frederick to lead the Eagles this season.
"I couldn't have picked a better person," Frederick said of Daza. "He has done more, not only on the court, but the way he can dig in that computer and find players to contact is amazing. He's been absolutely great."
The women will begin the season on February 1stat Austin Peay University and the men will compete in their first match on February 3rdat home against the Citadel.
2019 SAC Preseason Women's Tennis Poll
Rank Nomination Points (1st Place Votes)
1 Wingate 106 (6)
2 Queens 100 (3)
3 Tusculum 97 (2)
4 Newberry 74
5 Anderson 70
6 Lincoln Memorial 68
7 Lenoir-Rhyne 55
8 Catawba 50
9 Carson-Newman 43
10 Coker 30
11 Mars Hill 22
2019 SAC Preseason Men's Tennis Poll
Rank Nomination Points (1st Place Votes)
1 Queens 106 (6)
2 Wingate 105 (5)
3 Anderson 83
4 Lincoln Memorial 78
5 Tusculum 74
6 Newberry 66
7 Lenoir-Rhyne 62
8 Catawba 50
9 Coker 39
10 Carson-Newman 32
11 Mars Hill 20