High Point, NC – Conference Carolinas announced the 2018 Men's Tennis Preseason Poll on January 23 with the Belmont Abbey Crusaders leading the Conference.
The Belmont Abbey Crusaders led the 2018 poll to be picked first with 84 points. Last season, the Crusaders advanced to the championship tournament and defeated North Greenville and Limestone to advance to the finals. In the finals against the Barton Bulldogs, the Crusaders lost 5-0 to finish the season in second place.
Following the Crusaders, the University of Mount Olive Trojans were picked second in the polls with 79 points. The Trojans advanced to the Conference Tournament, defeating Pfeiffer 5-0 to advance to the semifinals before falling to the Barton Bulldogs 5-3. Mount Olive is followed in the poll by the Limestone Saints, picked third with 69 points. The Saints advanced to the Conference Tournament, defeating the Southern Wesleyan Warriors 5-1 in the quarterfinals before falling to the Belmont Abbey Crusaders in the semifinals.
The Barton Bulldogs were picked fourth in the preseason poll with 68 points. Last season, the Bulldogs were crowned the Conference Carolinas tournament champions after defeating Belmont Abbey 5-0 in the championship. The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament. They upset the Queens Royals in a 5-4 final score in the first round of play before falling to the number three team, Columbus State, 5-1. The Chowan Hawks were picked fifth in the Conference Carolinas preseason poll with 58 points. Last season, the Hawks took the number two seed in the NCAA Atlantic Region II Tournament. They advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 after clinching the 2017 DII Atlantic Region II Tournament when they defeated West Virginia Wesleyan College 5-1. However, they were defeated by Ferris State 5-0 to end their 2017 campaign.
Following the Hawks of Chowan, the King Tornado came in sixth in the poll with 52 points. Last season, the Tornado advanced to the Conference Tournament, only to fall to the Barton Bulldogs 5-1 in the first round of play. The North Greenville Crusaders follow the Tornado with a seventh place slot in the preseason poll with 47 points. Last season, the Crusaders advanced to the Conference Tournament before being defeated by the Belmont Abbey Crusaders in the quarterfinals to end their season.
The Southern Wesleyan Warriors were picked eighth in the preseason polls with 37 points. In their first year of post season eligibility last season, the Warriors advanced to the Conference Tournament only to fall 5-1 to the Limestone Saints in the quarterfinals. The Erskine College Flying Fleet followed Southern Wesleyan in the polls with 26 points. The Flying Fleet concluded their 2017 campaign with a 2-17 record. Behind the Flying Fleet, the Lees-McRae Bobcats took tenth with 20 points in the poll. The Bobcats finished the 2017 season 1-16.
Southern Wesleyan will kick-off their 2017-18 season on February 2 where they will take on the Anderson Trojans at 3 p.m. Their Conference Carolinas opener will be at home on February 24 as they take on the Erskine College Flying Fleet at home.