FOREST, Va. – The Guilford men’s tennis team was ranked second in the 2021 ODAC Men’s Tennis Preseason Poll after receiving 101 votes, including a first-place vote, from the conference’s coaches.
Guilford wrapped up the shortened 2019-20 season with a 3-2 mark, earning wins over Ferrum (7-2), Mary Baldwin (9-0) and Johnson C. Smith (9-0) in the process.
“We have a solid team,” said Guilford head coach David McCain. “It has been very difficult to prepare for this season with COVID and lately bad weather. We have had very little time to prepare, but I believe we have a strong team. We are all very excited to be back on the court.”
The Quakers begin the 2021 season on Saturday, February 27th, when they host Roanoke at 1 p.m. The match against the Maroons is the first of three straight home matches for Guilford along with clashes against Hastings (March 14) and Ferrum (March 20).
Washington and Lee University maintained its position at the top of the 2021 preseason poll having collected 121 points including 11 first place votes. Guilford College holds the second position by one point over Virginia Wesleyan University. The Quakers earned the remaining first place vote on the way to 101 markers, while the Marlins earned 100 tallies.
Hampden-Sydney College and Randolph-Macon College round out the top-five with 86 and 78 points, respectively.
ODAC STORYLINES: PICKING UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF
The 2020 season was abruptly halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic with several developing storylines that teams will look re-establish as they open play in 2020.
Title Dominance Continues | Washington and Lee has made a habit out of winning tennis titles in both the ODAC men’s and women’s ranks. Generals teams have captured 67 of the 80 men’s and women’s trophies awarded by the conference. W&L’s men have donned 38-of-43 crowns including each of the past two titles. The Generals remain heavy favorites to lift an 11th consecutive piece of ODAC hardware with a strong returning corp led by Alex Fedor, John Rudden, and Noah Tapp, who earned All-ODAC honors at #2 doubles in 2019. They also feature the return of Bobby Neuner, who missed all of last season after picking up a pair of All-ODAC honors in 2019. Several newcomers could also contribute including first-years Connor Coleman and Wyatt Wright.
Strong at the Top | The conference players universal rankings see several returning standouts leading the conference singles charts. Bridgewater’s Canon Secord leads the way with the 2019 ODAC Player of the Year coming off of two excellent seasons. All-ODAC returners Elijah Gregory from Guilford and Timothy Tep from Virginia Wesleyan are expected to strong campaigns along with VWU’s Mitchell Perry, Randolph-Macon’s Alex Hein, Roanoke’s Grayson White and Randolph’s Nicolas Alvarado.
Rank ’em…Soon | Normally at this time of year, the ITA would have several iterations of it team and individual rankings from fall competitions to give us an idea of what to expect for the spring season. That is not the case this season. That being said, ODAC teams and players did feature in the final polls from 2020. Washington and Lee capped the season ranked 32nd in Division III and just outside of the region’s top-10. Four players were also ranked with two returning this season. W&L’s John Rudden team with recent graduate Harry Shepherd to rank as the eighth-best doubles tandem in th region. Bridgewater’s Canon Secord went 8-2 in singles action to earn recognition as the 20th-ranked player in the region.
New Coach in Salem | Chris Wilkes takes over the reins at Roanoke College entering the spring season. While new to the school located in Salem, Wilkes spent the previous eight seasons guiding the tennis programs at local Salem High School.
THE ODAC TOURNAMENT
The 2021 ODAC Men’s Tennis Championship will continue to feature nine teams, but will be played in a slightly altered format. Final dates will be determined once matchups are determined and facility availability can be confirmed.
– First Round: Tuesday or Wednesday, April 27-28, 2021
– Quarterfinals: Saturday or Sunday, May 1-2, 2021
– Semifinals: Tuesday or Wednesday, May 4-5, 2021
– Championship: Saturday or Sunday, May 8-9, 2021
– The NCAA Division III Tournament team selections will be announced on Monday, May 10. Individual announcements will follow later in the week.
2021 ODAC MEN’S TENNIS COACHES POLL
(#) Denotes First Place Votes
1. Washington and Lee University (11) 121 pts. 2. Guilford College (1) 101 pts. 3. Virginia Wesleyan Univeristy 100 pts. 4. Hampden-Sydney College 86 pts. 5. Randolph-Macon College 78 pts. 6. Bridgewater College 69 pts. 7. University of Lynchburg 64 pts. 8. Roanoke College 52 pts. 9. Shenandoah University 38 pts. 10. Randolph College 33 pts. 11. Emory & Henry College 32 pts. 12. Ferrum College 18 pts.