ROCK HILL, S.C. — The Lincoln Memorial University men’s tennis team was predicted to finish third in the South Atlantic Conference this season and four individuals garnered preseason All-SAC accolades, as league officials unveiled the results of the 2013 preseason coaches’ poll and the athletes comprising the preseason All-SAC teams.
The Railsplitters picked up 64 total points in the preseason coaches’ poll to take the third spot. Last season, Lincoln Memorial finished third in the SAC standings at 7-2 in the league and 18-4 overall. They advanced to the final match of the 2012 SAC Championship where they fell to tournament champions Wingate University.
Wingate garnered seven of the ten first-place votes, grabbing 79 total points, to earn the top spot in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Bulldogs are coming off of a stellar year in 2012, as they finished 19-7 overall and advanced all the way to the Southeast Regional Final of the 2012 NCAA Tennis Championship. The other three first-place votes went to Anderson, who nabbed 75 total points to fall just behind Wingate at No. 2. The Trojans finished second in the SAC regular-season standings at 8-1 in league play last year.
Following Lincoln Memorial, Newberry and Tusculum each amassed 49 points to tie for fourth in the preseason coaches’ poll to round out the top-five spots. Catawba fell to No. 6 with 40 points, while No. 7 Mars Hill (33), No. 8 Carson-Newman (30), No. 9 (20) and No. 10 Lenoir-Rhyne (10) capped the poll.
The league office also released the preseason All-SAC selections with the Railsplitters placing four individuals on the team, headlined by the return of senior Philipp Hoffmann. Hoffmann (Karlsruhe, Germany) was named to the preseason singles All-SAC First Team and he rides into the 2013 campaign looking to cement his legacy as the most dominant men’s tennis player in the history of Lincoln Memorial. Last season, Hoffmann finished 18-1 overall and 8-1 in the SAC en route to garnering All-SAC First Team for his efforts. 2012 marked Hoffmann’s third-consecutive selection to the All-SAC First Team, as he was crowned with SAC Player of the Year honors in his previous two seasons at LMU. Hoffmann is the lone returnee from last season to the singles All-SAC First Team.
Going into 2013, Hoffmann already owns the record for singles victories at Lincoln Memorial University with 55 during his three-year career. His singles winning-percentage of .948 also ranks first all-time at LMU, as Philipp is a breathtaking 55-3 at Lincoln Memorial.
In doubles play, the potent combo of Will Sparks and Marcelo Alvim earned the nod for preseason doubles All-SAC First Team. Sparks (Knoxville) and Alvim (Sao Paulo, Brazil) competed all season in the No. 2 doubles spot for the Railsplitters, compiling a masterful 21-1 record overall with an 8-1 mark in the SAC. Their longest winning streak of the season was seven and the pair capped the final ten matches of the season by going 9-1 down the stretch.
Along with his selection to the preseason doubles All-SAC First Team, Marcelo Alvim gathered up singles All-SAC Second Team after a strong season in the No. 3 singles position for the Railsplitters last season. Alvim posted a 13-5 overall mark with his best play of the season coming against league foes, as he capped the year with a 7-2 record in the South Atlantic Conference. Over the last ten matches of the season, Alvim won seven.
Junior Alexey Minevskiy (Taganrog, Russia) capped the preseason All-SAC selections, as he collected preseason singles All-SAC Second Team honors. Minevskiy finished the 2012 campaign with a 10-5 overall record marked by a 7-2 South Atlantic Conference record playing primarily in the No. 4 spot for the Railsplitters. Like Alvim, Minevskiy saved his best for last, tallying a 6-1 mark over his final seven matches.
The Railsplitters are set to kickoff the 2013 season on Feb. 8, as they travel to Gaffney, S.C. to take on Limestone College in the first of three-consecutive road matches to open the season. That match is set to start with doubles play beginning at 2 p.m.