Tennis selected fourth in NAC preseason poll

Tennis selected fourth in NAC preseason poll

Four-time defending champion Colby-Sawyer College was unanimously selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2016 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) East Division Women's Tennis Championship after receiving all eight first-place votes in the coaches' poll.

Castleton University and Husson University tied for second with 49 points apiece, while Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts claimed fourth with 38 points and Johnson State College was selected fifth after earning 32 points. Rounding out the poll were Thomas College in sixth (26 points), Lyndon State College in seventh (19 points), and Green Mountain College in eighth (11 points).

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head women's tennis coaches.

Two of the top three teams in the 2016 preseason poll competed for the NEAC East title a season ago, as No. 1 Colby-Sawyer defeated No. 4 Johnson State 9-0 and No. 2 Castleton eared an 8-1 victory over No. 3 Husson in the semifinals. The Chargers then posted a 6-0 win over the Spartans to earn the East Division title and to move on to the NEAC/NAC Crossover Championship.

Colby-Sawyer went on to capture its fourth-straight crossover championship after defeating Penn State Berks, 9-0, to receive the NEAC's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The Chargers recorded their first-ever NCAA Women's Tennis Tournament victory by defeating UMass Dartmouth 5-0 in the first round of the national tournament. The win also marked the first time a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) women's tennis team has won a match in the NCAA Tournament. The banner season for Colby-Sawyer unfortunately came to an end as No. 17 ranked Tufts handed the Chargers a 5-0 loss.  

2016 NEAC East Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll



Points (First Place Votes)



64 (8)











Johnson State









Green Mountain



Throughout the next two weeks all eight NEAC East women's tennis teams will kick off their fall seasons and their quest for the 2017 conference title. The top four teams in the 2016 regular-season conference standings will qualify for the East Division Tournament, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 8, at Castleton. The crossover championship against the NEAC West champion is to be determined, either Saturday, May 6, or Sunday, May 7.

Click HERE to view the 2016 NEAC East Women's Tennis composite schedule.
Click HERE to view the 2016 NEAC East Women's Tennis conference-only schedule.

2016 NEAC East Women's Tennis Previews

For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the women's tennis section of each school's website.

1. Colby-Sawyer (19-6, 7-0 NEAC East)
 will be under the direction of Barry Schoonmaker who enters his eighth season at the helm of the Chargers program. Colby-Sawyer will look to continue its success of recent years and make a run for a fifth-straight NEAC East Division title. Although the program's all-time leader in wins graduated in the spring, the Chargers return the rest of their starting lineup led by first team singles and doubles All-NEAC honoree co-captain junior Ashley Woodside (Hampden, Maine). Also returning is the reigning NEAC East Rookie of the Year in Aislinn O'Connor (New Fairfield, Conn.; pictured right). Colby-Sawyer will play just three home matches in the first 27 days of the season, but will play four home matches in five days leading up to the NEAC East Tournament on October 8. 


T2. Castleton (11-3, 5-2 NEAC East) looks to continue its string of success in 2016 following seven-consecutive appearances in the NEAC East Championship match. Rob Purdy enters his seventh season with the Spartans, and returns three NEAC East All-Conference selections from a season ago. Kirsten Kruk (Clifton Park, N.Y.; pictured right) notched a 12-1 record in singles for Castleton, while Ciara Bannister (St. Albans, Vt.) returns after a 10-2 season at the No. 3 and No. 4 singles positions. Bannister and Kruk also teamed up in doubles action a season ago, posting a 9-3 record in second-flight doubles play with a 5-1 mark in NEAC East play.


T2. Husson (7-4, 5-2 NEAC East) will be led by second-year head coach Josh Warren, who returns his entire 2015 squad. The Eagles will see Sarah Smith (Calais, Maine; pictured right), Meredith Blessard (Lincoln, Maine) and Katie Pratt (Rockport, Maine), return to the courts this season. Pratt and Blessard were selected to the 2015 All-NEAC East first team doubles squad. Husson will look for a return trip to the NEAC East Championship tournament in 2016 after qualifying last season during the program's inaugural season. 


4. MCLA (6-7, 3-4 NEAC East) will be under the direction of first-year head coach Trevor Grimshaw, who has been leading the men's program for the past two seasons. Returning to MCLA this fall will be All-NEAC singles selection Emily Deaso (Pittsfield, Mass.; pictured right) and All-NEAC second team singles selection Mariza Sfakianaki (Williamstown, Mass.). The Trailblazers were shut out of the NAC tournament last season and hope to return in 2016. 


5. Johnson State (6-7, 4-3 NEAC East) will be led by head coach Michele Whitmore, who enters her eighth year coaching the Badgers. Junior captains Nicole Monick (Bennington, Vt.; pictured right) and Kali Covell (Hartford, Vt.) will lead the Badgers, who will be looking to build off of their NEAC East Semifinal appearance last season. With a group of talented returning players and new prospects, the Badgers look to remain among the postseason contenders in 2016. Johnson begins the season September 1 in a home match against Castleton.



6. Thomas (2-9, 2-5 NEAC East) will be under the guidance of first-year head coach Eddie Mathews. The Terriers have a small roster for the season and will look to All-Conference selections Lindsey Allen (Jay, Maine) and Olivia Mora (Surry, Maine; pictured right) for leadership and results in 2016. 


7. Lyndon (3-9, 2-5 NEAC East) will see Laura Laramee begin her third season as head coach of the Hornets. Carina Alden (New Marlborough, Mass.) and Alexa Richard (Haverhill, Mass.) are back for their senior seasons, while junior Nichole Jones (Lisbon Falls, Maine; pictured right) rounds out the returners for the Hornets. Lyndon looks to re-establish the program this year as they bring a number of new additions including senior Haley Bouley (Holliston, Mass.) and a number of freshmen. The Hornets will rely on great team unity to push them through the competitive conference schedule. 



8. Green Mountain (0-11, 0-7 NEAC East), after a pair of building years, third-year head coach Ted Panasci heads into 2016 with a good mix of returning and incoming players. Five returners and five incoming students will look to provide the Eagles with the most competitive brand of tennis yet after the program returned to varsity status in 2014. Leading the way will be senior Alex Reedy(Rutland, Vt.) and junior Paige Vlahos (Little Silver, N.J.; pictured right). The team will also look for key contributions from juniorsRuby Santiago (Worcester, Mass.) and Jada Lee (Midland, Texas). The Eagles host the Badgers in a non-conference match to kickoff the season on September 4.