ROCK HILL, S.C. --- Tusculum University has been picked to finish third in the South Atlantic Conference men's tennis preseason coaches poll, released Thursday. Senior Yago Fernandez was the lone Pioneer to earn preseason All-Conference recognition, as he was voted second-team All-SAC in singles by the conference's media relations offices.
The Pioneers finished 13-6 overall last season and 7-3 in the SAC. Tusculum was ranked 29th in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II poll last season, with all six of its losses coming to teams ranked 34th or higher. The Pioneers received votes in the 2020 preseason national poll, and are ranked ninth in the first ITA Southeast Region survey of the season.
Fernandez was named second-team All-SAC in singles for the second time in his career last season, and received All-SAC status for the fourth time in three seasons at Tusculum (twice in singles, twice in doubles). The Aviles, Spain native led the Pioneers with a 12-5 record in dual matches and was 8-2 in SAC contests. Fernandez reached as high as 70th in the ITA Division II men's singles rankings during the season, and had a 4-1 record while ranked. This past fall, Fernandez went 7-2 in singles during tournament competition to improve his career record to 45-24 with the Pioneers.
Wingate captured 11 of the 12 first-place votes from the SAC coaches and took the top spot in the preseason poll with 132 points, with Queens earning the other first-place vote and 119 points. Tusculum had 109 points in the poll for third place, followed by Lenoir-Rhyne (105 points), Anderson (92) and Newberry (76) to round out the top six. Coker (62 points) was seventh, followed closely by Carson-Newman (61) and Catawba (60) in eighth and ninth, respectively. The rest of the poll consisted of Lincoln Memorial in tenth (54 points), Mars Hill (32) in 11th and league newcomer UVa-Wise (22) in 12th place.
The Pioneers play nationally-ranked Indianapolis in their spring opener on Sunday, Feb. 2 at Lexington, Kentucky, and host West Virginia Wesleyan and Johnson C. Smith in their first home matches of the spring on Sunday, Feb. 9 at the Nichols Tennis Complex. Tusculum's SAC schedule opens at Newberry on Saturday, Feb. 15 and the regular season concludes with a trip to Carson-Newman on Wednesday, April 8.
South Atlantic Conference Men's Tennis Preseason Coaches Poll Rk Team (1st) Pts 1. Wingate (11) 132 2. Queens (1) 119 3. TUSCULUM 109 4. Lenoir-Rhyne 105 5. Anderson 92 6. Newberry 76 7. Coker 62 8. Carson-Newman 61 9. Catawba 60 10 Lincoln Memorial 54 11 Mars Hill 32 12 UVa-Wise 22
2020 Men's Tennis Preseason All-Conference
First Team Doubles
Daniel Belsito / Josep Canyadell, Wingate
Paolo Bompieri / Joel Dunlap, Queens
Edison Ambarzumjan / Enrico Haas, Newberry
Second Team Doubles
Sebastian Meum / Kasper Rolfsen, Queens
Paul Lenz / Rhodri Atkinson, Lenoir-Rhyne
Enrico Giacomini / Roy Stepanov, Wingate
First Team Singles
Daniel Belsito, Wingate
Edison Ambarzumjan, Newberry
Agustin Aran Martin, Queens
Josep Canyadell, Wingate
Ignacio Bidegain, Anderson
Tolunay Sumer, Wingate
Second Team Singles
Matt Jones, Wingate
Rhodri Atkinson, Lenoir-Rhyne
Yago Fernandez, Tusculum
Ryen Reid, Catawba
Tales Miranda, Lenoir-Rhyne
Paolo Bompieri, Queens