COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's tennis team has been picked to take fifth place out of 13 schools in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason poll, which was released by the league office today and chosen by the member institutions' head coaches.
The Purple Knights earned 102 points, just six short of Bentley University, which Saint Michael's defeated twice last season. Three-time defending NE-10 Championship winner Southern New Hampshire University, which has qualified for the past four NCAA Tournaments, totaled 138 points to top the poll.
Saint Michael's, the lone team to advance to at least the semifinal round of the NE-10 Championship every year since the conference switched to a tournament format in 1999-2000, went 13-8 overall and 10-3 in the league during 2011-12, posting double digits in NE-10 wins for the fifth time in six years. The Purple Knights are already 3-0 and 3-0 this school year, with seven underclassmen buoying an 11-player roster.
Sophomore Hannah Benoit (Mystic, Conn./Saint Bernard School) leads the team with a 7-1 singles record, while classmate Kayla Dowd (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) is 2-0. Five other Purple Knights have posted a 2-1 singles mark. The doubles pairing of seniors Emily Magee (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) and Jean-Marie McGrath (Niwot, Colo./Alexander Dawson School) is 4-1, and sophomores Caroline Martin (Scituate, Mass./Scituate) and Caroline Toutoungi (Weston, Conn./Weston) are 3-1 together.
Under 10th-year head coach Greg Cluff, Saint Michael's continues its season against 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifier Adelphi University on March 11 for an NE-10 match in Orlando, Fla. The contest will be the first of four during the Purple Knights' Spring Break trip.