FOREST, Va. -- The Old Dominion Athletic Conference released its 2018 men's tennis preseason coaches poll on Thursday morning and Washington and Lee was picked to finish first out of the league's 11 tennis playing schools.
The Generals garnered 10 first-place votes and totaled 100 points. Guilford was second with 84 points, while Hampden-Sydney was third with 81 points and the one remaining first-place vote. Bridgewater was fourth with 73 points and was followed by Virginia Wesleyan (59), Lynchburg (52), Randolph-Macon (51), Randolph (38), Roanoke (29), Shenandoah (23) and Emory & Henry (15).
W&L claimed its eighth straight ODAC Championship last spring by defeating Guilford in the title match by a score of 5-0. The Generals finished the season with a 16-7 overall record and a perfect 10-0 mark in conference play. The Blue & White advanced to the first of the NCAA Tournament when it fell to Sewanee by a score of 5-3.
Five First Team All-ODAC players return from a year ago led by senior March Zheng (Leawood, Kan. / Pembroke Hill), who received all-conference recognition in both singles and doubles. He led the team in singles wins with an 18-6 mark at No. 4 singles. He also notched a 16-10 doubles mark at No. 2 doubles.
Junior Zack Ely (Norwalk, Conn. / Brien McMahon) also earned First Team All-ODAC laurels in singles during the 2017 campaign, notching a 15-9 record at No. 3 singles. Ely was the 2016 ODAC Rookie of the Year.
Sophomore Charlie Kittredge (Alexandria, Va. / Field School) was a First Team All-ODAC choice at No. 1 doubles, while sophomores Thomas Harmon (Tampa, Fla. / Plant) and Mitchell Thomas (Houma, La. / Vandebilt Catholic) earned First Team All-ODAC accolades at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles, respectively. Kittredge went 9-11 at No. 1, Harmon was 15-11 at No. 2 and Thomas finished 18-6 at No. 3.
The Generals enter the spring ranked 30th in the Oracle/ITA Division III national rankings and sixth in the Atlantic South Region. W&L will test itself against an aggressive schedule that includes six of the Top 40 teams in Division III, including top-ranked Emory. The Generals will also play defending NAIA National Champion Georgia Gwinnett as well.
Washington and Lee opens its spring campaign on February 28 when it hosts Randolph-Macon for a 4:00 pm contest.