Tennis picked seventh in RSC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Karina Graziani -

Tennis RSC Graphic 2020Graphic courtesy of RSC Sports Information. Photo by Robert Cifone

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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio --- Carlow University women's tennis team was picked seventh in the 2020 Preseason Coaches' Poll the league announced last week.

The Celtics earned 13 votes in the poll. Four-time defending champion Asbury (Ky.) University was picked as the favorite in the poll. The Eagles have won the last four conference championships in a row. Voting was conducted by the eight head coaches in the league.

Carlow is without sisters Catherine and Emily Armstrong; Melanie Long; and Justina Jaquillard, who all graduated in 2019 and played significant roles on the team.

"We lost a handful of our top players from last season, and those athletes will be missed," head coach Gina Lovaglio said. "We are looking forward to the leadership from returning top players. Our only senior on the team this year, Juliana Mamajek, has already stepped up at practice and shown mentorship to the five new athletes on our team."

Mamajek (Pittsburgh, Pa.) stands as the sole senior leadership on the roster, having won two doubles matches last season with Long.

Ashleigh Bowser (SO/Kittanning, Pa.) returns this season as well. Bowser racked up the most wins for Carlow in 2019 alongside Emily Armstrong in doubles (2) and three singles matches on the year.

Fellow sophomore Caitlin Hoag (Douglassville, Pa.) is back in the lineup as well.

Additionally, head coach Gina Lovaglio and associate head coach Sam Lovaglio added some new faces to the team, including freshman Eliza Martin (Marysville, Ohio). and four walk-on juniors.

"We are excited for this season and the returning tennis players. Bowser played a key role in match play last season as a freshman, and we look forward to see her growth as a sophomore this year," Gina Lovaglio said. "Hoag will be vital in doubles play this season, and we are fortunate to have her positive attitude and leadership on our team. With five new athletes, this year will be a building year for the Celtics."

Asbury, which is also "receiving votes" in the NAIA Women's Tennis Top 25 Preseason Poll, earned six out of a possible seven first-place votes in the RSC preseason poll. The Eagles garnered 47 votes overall to lead the conference. Nationally, Asbury starts the year rated as the No. 30 team overall in the country.

Asbury has been to the last four NAIA Women's Tennis National Championships. This past fall, the Eagles were the top team at the RSC individual tournament winning six of the nine overall flights for their squad.

IU East was picked second in the RSC poll after its RSC Championship runner-up finish a year ago. The Red Wolves received 41 votes and the remaining two first-place votes. Thais Mendez leads IU East as the champion of the top flight from the fall individual tournament.

The Celtics start the 2020 season on the road against Indiana University East Saturday, March 7 at Glenn Miller Park.

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