FOREST, Va. --- A familiar logo remains at the top of the ODAC Men's Tennis Coaches Poll as nine-time reigning conference champion Washington and Lee University was picked as the favorite to repeat yet again in a survey of the league's head coaches. The Generals garnered 11 first place votes on the way to a chart-topping 121 points. Guilford College and Hampden-Sydney College round out the top-three for a second straight year, although there is separation between the two unlike a season ago when they tied for second.
The Quakers registered the remaining top nod as part of a 106-point haul. The Tigers, under new head coach Byron Balkin, received 101 tallies. Virginia Wesleyan University and Bridgewater College are separated from the remainder of the pack after earning 90 and 83 points, respectively.
Washington and Lee's success in men's tennis is rivaled only by that of its women's program. The Generals have collected 37 of the 42 championships competed, including last season's trophy. W&L registered 5-0 wins over Shenandoah University and Virginia Wesleyan in the ODAC Tournament quarterfinals and semifinals to reach the title match. Hampden-Sydney had a little more work to do in joining the Generals as the Tigers defeated Lynchburg, 5-0, and Guilford, 5-2, to qualify for their first championship tilt since four straight appearances from 2008-11 that included the 2009 title. Washington and Lee lifted its ninth straight league trophy with a 5-1 result at The Everett Tennis Center on Virginia Wesleyan's campus.
The Generals continued their season in the NCAA Tournament, picking up a victory in the opening round over Thomas More College, 5-0, before being eliminated by fourth-ranked Emory University, 5-1. Harry Shepherd, the ODAC Player of the Year, qualified for the NCAA singles flight. He dropped his opening match to Mohanad Al Houni of Gustavus Adolphus, 6-4, 6-0.
RELATED: NCAA Tournament Bracket
Entering the 2019 spring season, returning athletes account for 20 All-ODAC honors from a season ago. Shepherd leads the charge for W&L after picking up All-ODAC First Team recognition at #1 singles. He's joined by Mitchell Thomas, who collected All-ODAC Second Team laurels at #2 singles.
Hampden-Sydney tops the list with seven all-conference accolades dotting its roster. Brothers Matthew and Michael Moody return after picking up first team honors at #1 doubles, while Matthew added a second team #1 singles distinction last season. Grayson Burns was a first team chocie at #6 singles and at #3 doubles along with partner Clark Cummings. Will Driskill formed one-half of the second team #2 doubles tandem.
Guilford and Virginia Wesleyan also feature multiple honorees. Reigning ODAC Coach of the Year Dave McCain's Quakers are led by Elijah Gregory and Mason Robb. Gregory earned ODAC Rookie of the Honors honors in addition to a first team choice at #2 doubles with Robb and a second team selection at #3 singles. Robb added a first team nod at #2 singles.
The Marlins saw Nick Gunther and Mitchell Perry earned first team laurels at #1 doubles. Anthony Wilson and Michael Portera received second team recognition at #5 and #6 singles.
Both sets of ODAC Hornets welcome back an all-conference player each. The University of Lynchburg boasts Colton Mullins, who was one-half of the second team #3 doubles pairing. Shenandoah University's Darian Diaz was part of the second team #1 doubles unit.
RELATED: 2018 All-ODAC Men's Tennis Awards
The 2019 spring season is underway non-conference action. The first ODAC match is slated for Thursday, February 21. The ODAC Tournament is set to begin Tuesday, April 30, with quarterfinal action at the four highest seeds. The semifinals and finals will be held at Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5.
Listed below is the complete 2019 ODAC Men's Tennis Preseason Poll. For more information on ODAC men's tennis, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.
|2019 ODAC MEN'S TENNIS PRESEASON POLL|
|(#) Denotes First Place Votes|
|1. Washington and Lee University (11)||121 pts.|
|2. Guilford College (1)||107 pts.|
|3. Hampden-Sydney College||101 pts.|
|4. Virginia Wesleyan University||90 pts.|
|5. Bridgewater College||83 pts.|
|6. University of Lynchburg||66 pts.|
|6. Randolph-Macon College||66 pts.|
|8. Roanoke College||48 pts.|
|9. Shenandoah University||42 pts.|
|10. Randolph College||28 pts.|
|11. Ferrum College||21 pts.|
|12. Emory & Henry College||19 pts.|