COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M women’s tennis team has been picked to win the Southeastern Conference Western Division, according to a preseason poll of the league coaches and announced by the conference office late Thursday.
The Aggies were voted division champs with 94 points. Alabama was second with 88 points, and Ole Miss was third with 66 points. Arkansas (47) narrowly edged Auburn (46) for fourth place, and LSU (34) and Mississippi State (17) round out the seven-team division.
The Florida Gators were picked as the overall champions for the fourth consecutive year. Last season, they won the regular season SEC title with an 11-0 league mark and also won the SEC Tournament title. The Gators went on to win their second consecutive women’s NCAA national championship and finished the season 27-1 overall.
Florida, No. 1 in the ITA preseason rankings, was voted as Eastern Division Champion with 98 points. Georgia was second (83), with Vanderbilt coming in third (62). Tennessee (61) was picked to place fourth, followed by South Carolina (44), Kentucky (23) and Missouri (21).
The preseason poll is voted on by the women’s tennis head coach at each institution and is based on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 count in each division. Coaches also vote for the overall champion, with each vote counting as one point.
The Aggies, under the direction of second-year head coach Howard Joffe, enter the spring season No. 14, their highest preseason national ranking in program history. They open the regular season Saturday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. as they host North Texas in the opening round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. A&M opens its inaugural SEC campaign against South Carolina on Friday, March 1 and then hosts the defending SEC and national champion Gators Sunday, March 3. A&M concludes the regular season schedule against 10th-ranked Alabama on April 7 at the Mitchell Tennis Center
Joffe returns three letterwinners from last year’s team that went 19-6 overall, placed second in the Big 12 Conference with a 7-2 mark and ranked No. 17 in the final rankings after reaching the NCAA second round. He also welcomes five talented newcomers.
The following is the complete 2013 SEC women’s tennis coaches preseason poll:
Western Division Points
1. TEXAS A&M 94
2. Alabama 88
3. Ole Miss 66
4. Arkansas 47
5. Auburn 46
6. LSU 34
7. Mississippi State 17
Eastern Division Points
1. Florida 98
2. Georgia 83
3. Vanderbilt 62
4. Tennessee 61
5. South Carolina 44
6. Kentucky 23
7. Missouri 21
Overall Regular Season Champion: Florida (13 points), Texas A&M (1)
Texas A&M women’s 2013 SEC home schedule (ITA preseason ranking in parentheses):
Fri., Mar. 1 vs. (31) South Carolina
Sun., Mar. 3 vs. (1) Florida
Fri., Mar. 29 vs. (23) Tennessee
Sun., Mar. 31 vs. (6) Georgia
Fri., Apr. 5 vs. (69) Auburn
Sun., Apr. 7 vs. (10) Alabama
Season and individual match tickets can be purchased online anytime at 12thManFoundation.com or during business hours at the Athletic Ticket Office located in The Zone at Kyle Field or by calling the ticket office at 1-888-99-AGGIE or 979-845-2311. Tickets also will be available for purchase on game days at the Mitchell Tennis Center beginning one hour before match time.
For the complete women’s season schedule, go to AggieAthletics.com.