CLEVELAND, Ohio – The 2019 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll was released on Tuesday (Feb. 5) with Denison and Kenyon tied for the top spot in the voting. The Big Red and Ladies each received four first-place votes and 60 points total.
DePauw checked in at third receiving 45 total points while Ohio Wesleyan (37) and Oberlin (36) took fourth and fifth. Rounding out the poll were Wooster (25) in sixth, Wittenberg (17) in seventh and Allegheny (8) in eighth.
The Kenyon women's tennis program has won back-to-back NCAC tournament championships under head coach, Scott Thielke. The ladies enter the 2019 spring season ranked No. 22 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) NCAA Division III rankings after a 21-3 record a season ago. Returners include 2018 NCAC Newcomer of the Year, Erika Oku (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central), All-NCAC singles second-teamer Maggie Sweeney (Grosse Pointe, Ill./South) and singles third-team selection Ilana Blackwood (Saint James, Barbados/Queens).
Denison enters the spring season ranked No. 30 in the ITA Division III rankings, under head coach Jamie Scott. The Big Red posted a 13-8 record a season ago and finished runner-up in the conference tournament. Lauren Hawley (Dayton, Ohio/Archbishop Alter) and Emma Alsup (Nashville, Tenn./Harpeth Hall) return as the two-time NCAC Doubles Team of the Year. In singles action, Hawley was an All-NCAC first-team selection last season while Alsup was tabbed to the second-team. Senior Megan Hickey (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Twp.) also received All-NCAC Honorable Mention in singles action last year.
In 34 years of North Coast women's tennis competition, four schools have claimed league championships: Allegheny took the first title in 1985, while Kenyon went on a run to claim 15 of the next 16 titles, interrupted only by Denison's first title in 1994. The Big Red again broke the Ladies' streak in 2002, reeling off 10-straight titles from 2002-11. DePauw earned four-straight titles from 2012-15, before Denison earned the top spot in 2016 and Kenyon reclaimed the title the last two last seasons. Kenyon leads the way with 17 North Coast titles, followed by Denison (12), DePauw (4) and Allegheny (1).
Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference is made up of ten academically selective colleges and universities - Allegheny College, DePauw University, Denison University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University and the College of Wooster, along with affiliate member, Earlham College (field hockey). The NCAC sponsors 23 championship sports, 11 for men and 12 for women.
2019 North Coast Athletic Conference