Special to the Register
Austin Peay’s men and Eastern Kentucky’s women are predicted to win the 2014 OVC tennis titles in a poll of the league’s head coaches. The Governors earned 66 points and five first-place votes while the Colonels took 80 points and eight of nine first-place votes.
The EKU men received 62 points for a predicted second-place finish while 2013 OVC tournament runner-up Belmont follows in third with 60 points. Rounding out the men’s poll are Tennessee Tech (54) which had one first-place vote, Jacksonville State (41), Morehead State (39), SIUE (33), Eastern Illinois and Murray State tied for eighth (20) and Tennessee State (10).
On the women’s side, Murray State grabbed second place with 71 points and one first-place vote followed by last year’s OVC tournament runner-up Jacksonville State with 63 points. Eastern Illinois (52), UT Martin (47), Morehead State (44), SIUE (39), Belmont (37), Austin Peay (33), Southeast Missouri (20) and Tennessee State (9) complete the women’s poll.
The Austin Peay men captured its second OVC crown last season and its first since 1974. The Governors posted a 8-1 record in league play last year, falling only to regular season undefeated Tennessee Tech but defeating Belmont in the conference tournament championship match. EKU junior Juanjo de la Llera (No. 5) and sophomore Alex Alvaro (No. 7) were included in the preseason player top 10 list.
The EKU women won its third OVC regular-season title and tourney crown last year after going a perfect 10-0 in league action. It was the second consecutive year the Colonels won both crowns in the same season as they defeated Jacksonville State 4-0 to capture the women’s tournament title. EKU had two players named to the preseason top-10 list. For the second consecutive year, junior Amandine Faouzi earned the No. 1 spot while junior Kristina Labeja was No. 3. Both were 2013 OVC all-conference first team selections.
The 2014 OVC tennis championships will be held April 17-19 in Paducah at the Larry J. Heflin Tennis Center.