Golden Tigers Tennis Team Ranked No. 1 in Preseason Poll
Coaches in the Southern States Athletic Conference picked the Brenau University Golden Tigers tennis team to finish first in the league for the 2017 season in their preseason poll.
That’s the first time Brenau earned the No. 1 spot in the poll since it began SSAC play. The Tigers ranked No. 5 in the nation in 2016 after finishing last season 18-7 overall and 8-1 in conference.
Preseason rankings are typically based on the performances from the year before. The Golden Tigers will have for the 2017 season almost all of its championship-contending 2016 squad, including All-Conference performers Maya Mammetgulyyeva, a history and political science major from Fresno, California, and Patricia Recalde Pacua, an interior design major from San Lorenzo, Paraguay, both of whom are juniors, as well as sophomore Rebecca Pijls from Beek, Netherlands, a marketing major. There are no seniors on the team, which bodes well for the future.
“It feels great to be picked No. 1 in arguably the deepest conference in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics,” said Tennis Coach Andre Ferreira. “It’s exciting and motivating. But we are also realists in a sense that a lot changes from one season to another. We expect another year with several quality programs in the SSAC and, therefore, a lot of competitive matches. We will strive to improve our tennis game in order to compete with the best teams in the SSAC and NAIA.”
Brenau, Middle Georgia State University, William Carey University (Miss.), University of Mobile (Ala.) and Dalton State College (Ga.) make up the top five teams in the SSAC. Auburn University-Montgomery, the perennial favorite and last year’s champ, moved up to the NCAA.
This is Brenau’s final season competing in the SSAC. The university becomes a member of the Asheville, North Carolina-based Appalachian Athletic Conference for the 2017-2018 school year. In the AAC, Brenau will compete in tennis, swimming, cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball, golf, track and field and lacrosse. The availability of league-wide competition in lacrosse, Brenau’s newest sport, was the prime motivation for the switch, according to Brenau Athletics Director Mike Lochstampfor.
However, Lochstampfor said the change will benefit all student-athletes based on travel times to away games.
“We have enjoyed our long and successful affiliation with the SSAC,” he said. “We will certainly miss the many great relationships that we have formed over the years.”