USA South Releases Preseason Tennis Polls

Fayetteville, N.C. - The USA South has released is preseason coaches' polls for men's and women's tennis. Under the direction of first-year head coach Andres Amores, the Battling Bishop men were picked to defend last year's regular season title, while Wesleyan's women were tabbed sixth in their respective poll.

On the men's side, Amores inherits a Bishop squad that has captured five straight USA South regular season crowns, tournament championships and NCAA berths. Once again, Wesleyan will be led by three-time All-American and senior captain Robert Kjellberg, who is the most decorated player in the history of Bishop tennis. He will be joined by a trio of returners and four freshmen. With nine first-place votes, Wesleyan received the maximum of 81 points in the poll as coaches do not vote for their own teams.

Amores has also accepted the challenge of rebuilding a women's program that won its first-ever conference title in 2012. Sophomore captain Katie Beeman will lead a squad that features four newcomers this spring. The Bishops tallied 83 points in their poll, which features 13 teams.

Amores is excited to enter his first season with both programs.

“I am extremely honored to be given this opportunity at North Carolina Wesleyan,” said Amores.  “I look forward to building upon the regional and national success of the men’s program, and I welcome the challenge of establishing our women’s program as a yearly contender in the USA South.”

Amores joined NCWC from Vassar College, where he served as an assistant coach last season and helped the regionally-ranked Brewers capture the 2013 Liberty League conference championship and an NCAA berth. Prior to Vassar, he competed collegiately for Division I Jacksonville State University from 2005 to 2008, winning a pair of Ohio Valley conference titles in 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, he moved to the sidelines as a student assistant coach and led his Gamecocks to another conference tournament crown, as well as a spot in the national rankings. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration that same year, Amores served as a professional instructor while working on his master’s degree, which he completed in Sports Management at JSU in 2011.

A native of Quito, Ecuador, Amores was heralded as his country’s No. 1 player in both singles and doubles in the Under-14 and Under-16 divisions. Additionally, he was ranked No. 1 in doubles for the Under-18 division, while representing his country in four South American Junior Circuits, as well as several European junior tournaments. At the age of 16, Amores moved to Europe to train and play ITF and satellite tournaments, and he has since competed and trained with Davis Cup players from Ecuador.

His success as both a player and coach should prove beneficial for N.C. Wesleyan, which enters its second season of play at the Slick Family Foundation Tennis Center. Both teams kick off play in February, with the 2014 USA South Tournament being played April 11-13 on the NCWC campus as part of the USA South Spring Sports Festival in Rocky Mount.

Complete results from each poll are below.

2014 USA South Men's Tennis Preseason Coaches Poll     
Rank
Institution (1st Place Votes)
Pts.
1.
N.C. Wesleyan (9)
81
2.
Methodist (1)
72
3.
Huntingdon
58
4.
Piedmont
57
5.
LaGrange
41
6.
Greensboro
40
7.
Ferrum
37
8.
Averett
31
9.
Covenant
21
10.
Maryville
12

 

2014 USA South Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches Poll
Rank
Institution (1st Place Votes)
Pts.
1.
Methodist (12)
144
2.
Meredith (1)
129
3.
Huntingdon
120
4.
Piedmont
107
5.
Maryville
95
6.
N.C. Wesleyan
83
7.
LaGrange
82
8.
Covenant
71
9.
Ferrum
57
10.
William Peace
45
11.
Greensboro
34
12.
Averett
26
13.
Mary Baldwin
21