Jan. 24, 2011
The Tennessee Volunteers were selected to repeat as SEC regular-season champions in the tennis coaches preseason poll, the conference office released Monday.
Tennessee received 10 of the 12 votes to win the overall title, with Georgia and Florida getting a vote each.
In the poll, the third-ranked Vols also received 72 points in the voting to lead a talented SEC Eastern Division, which features four teams ranked in the top 12. The Vols were followed by Georgia (57), Florida (51), Kentucky (40), Vanderbilt (24) and South Carolina (12). Mississippi, ranked 18th, was picked to win the Western Division with 70 points.
The Vols (1-0) started the season last Friday with a 7-0 sweep of East Tennessee State.
Last season, Tennessee had one of its greatest years on record, finishing 31-2 overall and going 11-0 in the conference en route to hoisting the SEC regular-season trophy for the first time in a decade. The Vols also became the first in SEC history to win the conference tournament by shutting out all three opponents 4-0.
Tennessee is attempting to win consecutive conference titles for the first time in program history, and the Vols return most of the lineup from last season. Five of six regulars from the singles lineup are still on the roster, including last year's SEC Player of the Year, senior John-Patrick Smith, and current No. 1-ranked singles player Rhyne Williams, a sophomore from Knoxville.
Up Next: The Vols are one of 15 hosts for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend and play San Diego on Friday at 1 p.m. at the Goodfriend Tennis Center. On Saturday, Tennessee faces either Clemson or USC Upstate. The winner of the weekend four-team event advances to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships from Feb. 18-21 in Seattle. Last season, the Vols reached the finals of the National Indoors.
2011 SEC Men's Tennis Coaches Preseason Poll
Eastern Division (Points)
1. Tennessee (72)
2. Georgia (57)
3. Florida (51)
4. Kentucky (40)
5. Vanderbilt (24)
6. South Carolina (12)
Western Division (Points)
1. Mississippi (70)
2. Mississippi State (55)
3. Auburn (45)
4. LSU (37)
5. Alabama (30)
6. Arkansas (15)
Overall Regular Season Champion: Tennessee (10 points); Florida (1); Georgia (1).