ROCK HILL, S.C. — The Lincoln Memorial University women’s tennis team was tabbed for a fourth-place finish in the South Atlantic Conference preseason coaches’ poll, while senior Leah Donoff was named to the preseason singles All-SAC First Team, as the league office unveiled the results of the SAC preseason poll as well as the selections to the preseason All-SAC teams on Friday.
The Lady Railsplitters capped the 2012 campaign with a 14-6 overall mark and a 5-4 record in South Atlantic Conference play, finishing in a three-way tie for fourth in the league at the conclusion of the regular season. Lincoln Memorial ended their season with a 5-0 loss to the Tusculum College Pioneers in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Food Lion SAC Tennis Tournament. The Lady ‘Splitters collected 59 total points in the preseason coaches’ poll to grab the No. 4 spot.
The poll was dominated by the Wingate Bulldogs, who garnered eight of the ten first-place votes and amassed 80 total points to grab the top spot in the SAC preseason coaches’ poll. The Bulldogs have finished a combined 17-1 in league play over the past two seasons and captured two-consecutive Food Lion SAC Tennis Tournament titles.
Anderson picked up one of the other first-place votes and gathered 69 total points to take the No. 2 spot in the preseason poll. The Trojans split the regular-season title with Wingate after finishing 8-1 in SAC play and notched a runner-up finish in the SAC Tournament.
No. 3 Tusculum earned the final first-place vote and notched 63 total points a year removed from a 17-4 season that included a 7-2 mark in South Atlantic Conference play.
Following Lincoln Memorial, Newberry grabbed the fifth-spot with 43 points to round out the top five in the preseason poll. No. 6 Mars Hill (37), No. 7 Catawba (33), No. 8 Brevard and Carson-Newman (27), and No. 10 Lenoir-Rhyne (9) capped the bottom five of the 2013 SAC preseason coaches’ poll.
Along with the preseason poll, the league office also released the selections to the preseason All-SAC teams, with senior Leah Donoff (Tipp City, Ohio) earning the nod for the preseason singles All-SAC First Team. The preseason All-SAC teams are determined by a vote of the Sports Information Directors around the South Atlantic Conference.
Donoff finished the 2012 season 14-3 overall and 8-1 in the league playing in the top spot all season in the Lady Railsplitters’ rotation, garnering All-SAC First Team distinctions. In her three seasons at LMU, Donoff has gathered an array of honors, including: All-SAC First Team (2010, 2011, 2012), 2010 SAC Freshman of the Year, 2010 SAC Player of the Year, 2010 ITA Southeast Region Rookie of the Year and 2012 All-SAC First Team Doubles.
Heading into her final season, Donoff is quickly closing in on a pair of all-time career records at Lincoln Memorial. Donoff holds a career record of 46-11, 14 wins off of Helena Sokolova’s all-time record of 60 singles wins. She is also 51-6 in her career in doubles play, 14 wins away from tying Sofia Lopez Mimendi for the top spot in that category with 65 career wins. She already owns the No. 1 all-time spot in Lady Railsplitter tennis history for doubles winning-percentage with an .895 career mark.
The Lady Railsplitters are slated to get the 2013 campaign underway on Feb. 13, as they are poised to head to Williamsburg, Ky., to take on the University of the Cumberlands in nonconference action. That match starts at 2 p.m. with doubles play. Lincoln Memorial open their home schedule on Feb. 20 with a nonconference matchup against King College at 2 pm.