Jayhawk tennis tabbed fifth in Big 12 Preseason Poll again
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the second-straight year, the Kansas tennis program was predicted to finish fifth in the Big 12 Conference standings, as indicated by the league’s head coaches in the preseason poll which was released Wednesday.
The fifth spot proved to be beneficial for head coach Todd Chapman and the KU program last season, as the Jayhawks snapped a 17-year drought from the NCAA Tournament, ended the year ranked No. 33 nationally and notched a 17-8 overall mark to finish second in the Big 12 Conference.
“I believe the Big 12 is one of the strongest tennis conferences in the country, so to be picked in the middle of the pack shows some of the other teams in our conference identify the direction we are going as a team,” Chapman said. “My opinion is that our conference is good enough to have seven to eight teams make the NCAA Tournament this spring.
“More importantly, our focus is where we end the season in the conference and our goal at Kansas is to compete for championships. So, I am honest in saying that if we finish fifth, we will have fallen short of one of our goals.”
The Jayhawks received 50 points, just two shy of third-place Baylor (52). National runner-up Oklahoma State claimed the top spot with 81 votes, followed by Texas Tech (70) and Texas (63).
Kansas finished three votes ahead of No. 6 TCU (47), while Oklahoma (36), Kansas State (25), Iowa State (14) and West Virginia (12) rounded out the poll.
Conference coaches place their votes prior to the start of dual-match play to determine their preseason favorite, but cannot vote for their own team in the poll.
Currently three Big 12 Conference teams are ranked in the latest Oracle/ITA Women’s National Team Rankings with Oklahoma State at No. 5, Texas Tech at No. 13 and Texas at No. 17.
The Jayhawks open their dual season and will debut the new Jayhawk Tennis Center at Rock Chalk Park January 20, when Kansas hosts Saint Louis. The match is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
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