Release  Alex Kelly ·

INDIANAPOLIS -- Valparaiso is the unanimous favorite to defend their men’s League title, while the Youngstown State Penguins narrowly took the top spot in the women’s poll.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team on their ballot.

Valparaiso looks to defend their title from a year ago after defeating Green Bay in straight sets for school’s first men’s tennis championship since joining the Horizon League. The Crusaders are led by the senior duo, Charlie Emhardt and two-time Horizon League Player of the Year Jeffrey Schorsch. The pair was runner-up in the doubles USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships this past fall. Their historic performance included an upset of number one University of California, Berkeley in the round of 16.

Winners of the last three Horizon League Championships, the Penguins return Player of the Year, Dominika Lackova. The senior posted a 6-3 record as the teams number one en route to the award in 2016.

Cleveland State was voted second in the men’s poll while the women are predicted third after claiming the top spot in the regular season just a year ago. The women’s squad returns Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-League honoree Isabella Spindler while the men’s team returns 2016 Second-Team All-League member Mirko Radosevic, who finished 19-17 in singles play.

Finishing tied for third were Green Bay and Northern Kentucky. The Phoenix graduated Leopold Gomez Islinger and Howard Scott both of whom were First-Team All-League members. The Norse will rely on the two seniors, Mate Virag and Lukas Clemens. Both players received postseason accolades after guiding the squad to a third place finish last season.

Historically dominant in women’s tennis, UIC received as many first-place votes as Youngstown State with the Flames predicted to finish second in the League. UIC had a League-high five player of the week honors a year ago with Sophomore Rachel Le Comber receiving the honor twice.

After pulling off the upset against Cleveland State last year in the semifinals last season, Wright State returns their entire roster from a season ago. The Raiders team features six seniors led by Second-Team All-League Linsey Verstrepen as well as junior, Karoline Haller who was on First-Team All-League during the 2016 campaign.

The 2017 Horizon League Men’s and Women’s Championship will be held at the Preston Robert Tisch Building on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. from April 28-30.

2017 Men’s PRESEASON Poll
Rank, School, (1st), Points
1. Valparaiso (7) 49
2. Cleveland State (1) 35
t-3. Green Bay 31
t-3. Northern Kentucky 31
5. Youngstown State 29
6. Detroit Mercy 23
7. UIC 18
8. Wright State 8

Rank, School, (1st), Points
1. Youngstown State (4) 72
2. UIC (4) 70
3. Cleveland State (1) 68
4. Wright State (1) 61
5. Milwaukee 51
6. Detroit Mercy 38
7. Oakland 34
8. Northern Kentucky 30
9. Valparaiso 17
10. Green Bay 9


About the Horizon League The Horizon League is an NCAA Division I athletics conference comprised of 10 member institutions located throughout the Midwest’s major metropolitan cities. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the League and its members strive to be highly competitive athletically while committing to the total development of its student-athletes and creating a lasting impact on campus and in the community.

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