Rock Hill, S.C. - 2011 South Atlantic Conference Freshman of the Year Sam MacNeil and Beau Wills both received 2012 preseason All-SAC honors as announced by the conference office on Tuesday afternoon, while the Tornados were picked fourth overall in the preseason coaches’ poll.
The Wingate Bulldogs have been selected as favorites to capture the 2012 SAC men’s tennis championship in a vote by the conference’s coaches.
Wingate, champions of the 2011 SAC regular season, received five first-place votes for a total of 94 points, edging out last year’s Food Lion SAC Tournament champion Anderson, as the Trojans tallied four first-place votes and 92 points.
Wingate, which finished 2011 with a perfect 9-0 SAC record, will compete with a lineup that features three 2012 Preseason All-Conference First Team selections in seniors Matthew Lichtenstein, Drew Owen and Flavio Rathsam. Lichtenstein is currently ranked 14th in the ITA Southeast Region rankings, which were based on fall tournament results.
Anderson will look to build off a 2011 season in which it earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament, where it knocked of Queens in the first round before falling to a then-undefeated Armstrong Atlantic squad. The Trojans will be led by Preseason All-Conference First Team selections Stan Atema, who is ranked 13th in the Southeast Region, and Deni Mehagic.
Lincoln Memorial has been picked third in the preseason poll followed by Brevard at No. 4.
Both teams return key contributors as junior Philipp Hoffmann, who was selected on the Preseason All-Conference First Team, is expected to lead the Railsplitters while 2011 SAC Freshman of the Year Sam MacNeil will pace the Tornados.
Mars Hill received one first place vote in the preseason coaches’ poll and is part of a three-way tie for fifth along with Newberry and Tusculum.
The Wolves placed one player on the preseason All-SAC First Team in Vinicius Botelho.
Catawba was tabbed eighth in the preseason poll, totaling 32 points, while Carson-Newman was slotted in the No. 9 position with 26 points.
Rounding out the preseason poll is Lenoir-Rhyne at No. 10.
The league’s top-six teams will qualify for the 2012 Food Lion SAC Championship, which will be held on April 19-21 at the Rock Hill Tennis Center in Rock Hill, S.C.
2012 SAC Men’s Tennis Preseason Coaches’ Poll Team Points (1st-place votes)
1. Wingate 94 (5)
2. Anderson 92 (4)
3. Lincoln Memorial 79
4. Brevard 55
t5. Mars Hill 54 (1)
t5. Newberry 54
t5. Tusculum 54
8. Catawba 32
9. Carson-Newman 26
10. Lenoir-Rhyne 10
2012 SAC Men’s Tennis Preseason All-Conference Team
Stan Atema, Anderson
Deni Mehagic, Anderson
Sam MacNeil, Brevard
Philipp Hoffmann, Lincoln Memorial
Vinicius Botelho, Newberry
Matthew Lichtenstein, Wingate
Drew Owen, Wingate
Flavio Rathsam, Wingate
Daniel Gonzalez, Anderson
Beau Wills, Brevard
Thomas Mitchell, Catawba
Tommy Brennan, Lenoir-Rhyne
Tom Goossens, Lincoln Memorial
Enrico Patriarca, Mars Hill
Lucas Simm, Mars Hill
Michael Saunders, Newberry