LEBANON, Tenn. – The Cumberland men’s and women’s tennis teams were both ranked in the NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released Tuesday, with the men ranked 11th and the women 22nd, as announced by the national office.
Cumberland’s men reached the NAIA National Tournament last season for the fifth time in program history and the first time since 2008, ending the year with an 18-3 dual match record. The club defeated Warner University in the national tournament before falling to top-ranked Fresno Pacific in the Round of 16.
Fourth-year head coach Bill McCormick returns five letterwinners from last year’s squad, including Second Team All-American Antonio Manuel Marcelo, who posted an 18-3 singles record and a 19-7 doubles mark during the 2011-12 academic year. Marcelo, a sophomore from Cascais, Portugal, compiled a 3-1 mark in singles and doubles this fall for the Bulldogs.
Junior Pedro Rodrigues also returns for CU after registering a 19-3 singles record and an 18-7 doubles mark last year. Sophomores Andres Burgos and seniors Jeremy Fleming and Cristhian Hernandez were all big parts of last season’s success and are joined by freshmen Nathan Albright, Pablo Borrero, Sebastian Nava and Dylan Nelson.
The Cumberland women have just one senior – third-year player Anita Rácz – on the squad and return four letterwinners from last season, including junior Tais Lacerda Bezerra and sophomores Abby Wilson and Alena Gizdić.
Gizdić posted a 10-3 singles mark and a 7-8 doubles record after enrolling last January while Rácz finished the year 9-5 in singles and 6-9 in doubles.
Newcomers Sandra Munoz Poletti, Angelica Sepulveda and Antea Dedić should bolster the lineup for CU.
The women open the season February 15 at Belmont University and both squads will take on Bethel University on Feb. 20.