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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

NCAA Champions Vanderbilt Women, Virginia Men Top ITA Rankings; Koepfer, Eidukonyte, Koepfer Move to Top Spot in Singles

The first Oracle Division I team rankings of the year were announced today, and the first individual rankings since the fall preseason were also released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Dominik Koepfer of Tulane, the first player from Tulane to be No. 1 in the nation, went 12-2 in the fall, reaching the semifinals at the Oracle Masters, the final at the ITA St. Francis Health All-American Championships and taking the title at the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. That is a resume worthy of the No. 1 ranking by any reckoning. Axel Alvarez of Oklahoma, who played only the Oracle Masters this past fall, was the preseason No. 1, but is now ranked No. 60.  NCAA champion Ryan Shane of Virginia, No. 2 in the preseason rankings, is ranked No. 11 at the start of the dual match season.

Men's Top 10 Singles:
1. Dominik Koepfer    Tulane 
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski    Virginia 
3. Andre Goransson    California 
4. Cameron Norrie    TCU 
5. Arthur Rinderknech    Texas A&M   
6. Christopher Eubanks    Georgia Tech 
7. Mikael Torpegaard    Ohio State 
8. Felipe Soares    Texas Tech
9. Tom Fawcett    Stanford 
10. Hugo Di Feo    Ohio State

Men's Top 5 Doubles:
1. Brett Clark and Robert Kelly    North Carolina 
2. Hugo Dojas and Felipe Soares    Texas Tech
3. Gordon Watson and Diego Hidalgo    Florida
4. Jack Findel-Hawkins  and  Yannick Zuern    North Florida
5. Mac Styslinger and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski    Virginia   

The women's new No. 1 is Joana Eidukonyte of Clemson, who just barely edged out Ohio State freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo, who won the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships by beating Eidukonyte 6-3, 6-1 in the final.  It's tempting to say that Di Lorenzo is the victim of the All-American entry restrictions, which don't provide wild cards for the top incoming freshmen, but Virginia senior Danielle Collins, who won both the Oracle Masters and the Riviera All-American Championship is somehow ranked fourth.  

In his recap of the ITA Convention, Bobby Knight mentioned some discussion among coaches about changing the preseason rankings, but that isn't the problem here. I hope the whole algorithm is getting a thorough review because it isn't really producing consistently credible results.

Carol Zhao of Stanford was ranked No. 1 in the preseason rankings, but I don't recall that she played any college tennis at all in the fall and she is unranked to start the spring season.

Women's Top 10 Singles:
1. Joana Eidukonyte    Clemson
2. Francesca Di Lorenzo    Ohio State
3. Belinda Woolcock    Florida
4. Danielle Collins    Virginia
5. Maegan Manasse    California
6. Hayley Carter    North Carolina 
7. Sinead Lohan    Miami (FL)
8. Julia Elbaba    Virginia
9. Stephanie Wagner    Miami (FL)
10. Klara Fabikova    California

Women's Top 5 Doubles:
1. Aldila Sutjiadi and Mami Adachi    Kentucky
2. Whitney Kay and Hayley Carter    North Carolina
3. Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr    California
4. Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith    USC
5. Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan    Florida

The team rankings are done differently, with the computer not used until March, with polls starting out the season.  Although the ITA's website says the rankings FAQs are being updated, here's a link to the 2013-14 pdf.

The NCAA champions are usually honorary No. 1s and that is the case this year. Frequently it's not until after the Team Indoor tournaments that enough information is available to make meaningful choices, but I do suggest you have a look at College Tennis Today's men's Top 20, which has a great deal of information to go with his rankings.

Women's Top 10 Teams:
1. Vanderbilt
2. Southern Cal
3. Florida
T-4. North Carolina
T-4. Georgia
6. California
7. Virginia
8. Stanford
10. Texas A&M

Men's Top 10 Teams:
1. Virginia
2. Oklahoma
3. TCU
4. Baylor
5. Texas A&M
6. Illinois
7. Georgia
8. Southern Cal
9. North Carolina
10. Ohio State

The complete rankings for singles, doubles and teams can be found at the ITA's ranking page.


Freddy said...

The rankings are pretty much a joke when the top ranked player (Alvarez) from the previous year can't break the top 60. One would think a spring season of results would have some consideration other than basing rankings on a sub-par fall tournament schedule.

CTF said...

And they always have been a joke, agree. Every year, same thing.