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Colby-Sawyer Selected Atop 2018 GNAC Preseason Women's Tennis Poll


Newest core member Colby-Sawyer
garners half the first-place votes

WINTHROP, Mass. – Colby-Sawyer College, which officially became the Great Northeast Athletic Conference's newest full core member on July 1, received 57 points and four of the possible eight-first place votes to take the top spot in the 2018 GNAC Women's Tennis Preseason Poll, as voted upon by the league's head coaches.

The Chargers went 17-6 overall last year under 10th-year head coach Barry Schoonmaker, going a perfect 7-0 in North Atlantic Conference (NAC) play without losing a set. They blanked Husson, 5-0, in the NAC Championship last fall before defeating Johnson & Wales University (RI), 5-0, in the first of the NCAA Tournament last spring. Colby-Sawyer moved forward but was defeated by No. 11 MIT in the NCAA Second Round. 

The poll-favorite Chargers will begin its first GNAC campaign at home with non-league matchups against UMass Boston and Gordon this Friday, August 31. They will then be on the road at Nichols on Sunday, Sept. 2 before hosting Division-II regional powerhouse SNHU on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Colby-Sawyer has also played SNHU each of the last two seasons, falling 6-3 in 2017 and 7-2 in 2016. They also dominated Division-II Saint Anselm this past April, blanking the Hawks by a 9-0 final. 

JWU finished second in the poll with 56 points and one first-place vote after claiming the GNAC Championship for the second straight year. The Wildcats went 15-2 overall last year, including an unblemished 6-0 mark in GNAC regular-season play. Their only two losses came at the hands of Colby-Sawyer, an 8-1 defeat last September before the NCAA Tournament setback this past May. 

The Wildcats will open up on the road at Curry on Saturday, Sept. 1 before hosting Western New England on Monday, Sept. 3. In GNAC action, JWU will host Colby-Sawyer on Saturday. Sept. 15. 

Simmons College, which won eight straight GNAC titles from 2008-2015, finished third in the poll with three first-place votes and 49 points overall. The Sharks will begin the year at home against Roger Williams on Saturday, Sept. 1 before traveling to Gordon on Labor Day. 

After falling to Simmons last year in the GNAC Tournament Semifinals, Regis (Mass.) took the fourth position in the voting with 39 points. 

Eastern Nazarene College finished fifth in the preseason poll as the Lions join the GNAC as an associate member in both women's and men's tennis in 2018-19 and beyond. ENC captured 32 points in the voting, just ahead of Suffolk University's 31 points, after going 11-10 overall last year. The Lions had a head-to-head home win over Regis, 6-3, last September, and will open up against Lesley on the road (Sept. 4) before going on the road for its first-ever GNAC league contest at Simmons on Thursday, Sept. 6. 

The University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) and Albertus Magnus College closed out the preseason poll with 16 and eight points, respectively. 

This year's GNAC Tournament will take place Saturday-Sunday, October 20-21 again at the Winchester Indoor Tennis Center in Winchester, Mass. After first-round action at the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Wednesday, October 17, the semifinals will take place on the Saturday, with the two advancing teams competing in the GNAC Final on the Sunday. Fans can also purchase GNAC co-branded and championship apparel through the conference's new partnership with SquadLocker by clicking HERE

2018 GNAC Women's Tennis Preseason Poll
1. Colby-Sawyer (4) - 57
2. Johnson & Wales (1) - 56
3. Simmons (3) - 49
4. Regis (Mass.) - 39
5. Eastern Nazarene - 32
6. Suffolk - 31
7. Saint Joseph (Conn.) - 16
8. Albertus Magnus - 8 

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience.