HIGH POINT, N.C. - Mount Olive is coming off its best season in school history, winning its first-ever Conference Carolinas championship, making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and setting a school record for wins. The Trojans posted an overall record of 18-7 last year and won the Conference Carolinas East Division with a 9-1-conference mark. Pfeiffer University was selected ninth in this year's poll.
An All-Conference Carolinas first team selection, Edgar Bub was last year’s Freshman of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Conference Carolinas Tournament. Bub enters the 2013season ranked No. 47 in the nation and No. 17 in the Southeast Region in Division II men’s singles. Bub won the Group A Men’s Singles title at the Conference Carolinas Fall Tournament. He also excelled in the classroom during the fall with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Mount Olive set a school record last year with five All-Conference Carolinas Men’s Tennis players. Along with Bub, third team selections Akio Mariano and Brahm Moolman return. Also returning is Rik Wolthuis, who played No. 2 singles and combined with Bub at No. 1 doubles.
Following one of their best seasons in a number of years, Limestone College men’s tennis has been picked to finish second overall in Conference Carolinas. Last season Limestone tore through league competition as they posted a perfect 10-0 record to claim the regular season crown and a 17-7 overall mark. In the process, they won every match except one by at least three points with the lone exception being a narrow 5-4 victory over Mount Olive. At one point they won eight straight matches and 10 of 11 heading into the championship match. Two of their losses on the season also came at the hands of a pair of Division I opponents.
Limestone returns the majority of that squad with the lone notable exception being Mike Stephenson, a three-time Player of the Week and All-Conference Carolinas First-Team selection. While the Saints need to fill that spot, they have a number of top performers in the fold ready to do just that. Leading the way among that group is reigning Conference Carolinas Player of the Year and First-Team selection, senior Carlos Yanes.
The Royals will be led by 2012 Conference Carolinas All-Conference Second Team member Josh Bloch who went 9-4 last year, as well as, Ignacio Casali who went 8-6 and Andre Bafume who finished the season 8-3. The Queens men also had a strong finish with several top finishes in the Conference Carolinas and ITA Southeast Region individual tournaments.
Leading the Royals was Bafume who finished second in the conference individual tournament, and Casali who advanced to the third round of the prestigious ITA tournament in the A bracket. The Royals also added several new faces who had strong preseasons and look to help the Royals earn a conference championship and berth in the NCAA postseason.
Rounding out the men's tennis preseason poll 4-11 is: King, Coker, Barton, Lees-McRae, Erskine, Pfeiffer, North Greenville and Belmont Abbey respectively.
CONFERENCE CAROLINAS MEN'S TENNIS PRESEASON POLL (First Place Votes)
1. Mount Olive - (6) 96
2. Limestone - (5) 92
3. Queens - 80
4. King - 76
5. Coker - 65
6. Barton - 41
7. Lees-McRae - 39
8. Erskine - 36
9. Pfeiffer - 35
10. North Greenville - 28
11. Belmont Abbey - 17