LANCASTER, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's tennis team was picked to finish seventh in the Centennial Conference preseason poll.
The Bears earned 39 points in a sampling of the league's coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
Johns Hopkins is the runaway favorite to claim a 12th consecutive CC crown, collecting eight first-place votes and 89 points. Swarthmore (82 points) grabbed the remaining two first-place ballots and finished second.
Haverford (68 points) and Franklin & Marshall (64) rounded out the top four, while Washington College and Dickinson tied for fifth with 54 points. Ursinus was next, followed by Bryn Mawr and Gettysburg (30), Muhlenberg (21), and McDaniel (10).
Ursinus has reason for optimism in 2018 with the return of its top four players, including a pair of former all-conference performers in seniors Aileen BeVard and Ariel Danziger, from a team that finished 12-7 overall and 4-6 in CC competition to extend its streak of seasons with double-digit wins to three.
BeVard, a second team honoree in 2016, finished 9-10 in dual matches in her first season at the top of the singles lineup. The senior is already third in school history with 70 career victories, and needs just 11 singles wins to become the all-time leader in that category. Danziger, meanwhile, is 18 away from the program record of 100 career wins and ranks one spot behind BeVard with 38 singles triumphs; she was 12-5 at number four singles a year ago.
Sophomore Caitlyn Sorelle is poised to take over number one singles duties after a sensational rookie campaign in which she compiled a 13-5 mark at number two singles and joined Danziger for an 11-6 standing at number two doubles (16-7 overall). Danziger is just seven wins away from tying the all-time doubles standard of 51.
Senior Ashley Nguyen is back at number three singles after a bounce-back season that culminated in a 10-8 mark. She was 9-8 at number one doubles with BeVard, and that duo has combined for 31 victories together over the last three-plus seasons.
The Bears lost a pair of reliable seniors in Robin Alsher and Christine Palazzolo to graduation, and will replace them in the back of the lineup with a combination of freshmen Madisen Harvey and Maddie Sorebo and sophomore Summer Burkholder.
Ursinus opens on March 5 against Otterbein, the first of five matches during its annual spring trip to Florida.