TOWSON, Md. — The Landmark Conference released its 2014 preseason women's tennis coaches' poll this morning, with Goucher predicted to finish third in the upcoming spring season.
The Gophers received 34 points and one first place vote in the poll. The coaches predict defending champions Scranton to repeat, with the Royals garnering 54 points and four of the seven available first place votes. Juniata, which finished fourth in 2013, edged out Goucher with 35 points (including a first place vote) and a second place projected finish.
Catholic and Moravian each tallied 32 points, with the Cardinals earning the final first place projection. Susquehanna (18 points) and Drew (12 points) round out the preseason rankings.
Last season, the Gophers finished 12-5, including a 5-1 record in Landmark play which allowed them to clinch the top seed in the postseason tournament. After defeating Juniata in the semifinals, they came two wins away from their first Landmark title before ultimately falling 5-3 to Scranton in the championship match. Goucher, however, must replace last year's Landmark Player of the Year, Ariel Lin, as well as No. 2 singles player Meagan Lee. Each received first-team all-conference recognition in both singles and doubles.
Junior transfer Amanda Bercovici (Hackensack, N.J./Bergen Tech) is poised to step into Lin's No. 1 singles spot. Bercovici, who previously played two years at Washington (Md.), won nine of her 10 singles matches in the fall. That success has already led to two Landmark Player of the Week awards, as well as a No. 24 ranking in the Atlantic South region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Junior Alex Walsh (Greens Farm, Conn./Staples), who earned second-team all-Landmark accolades in 2013, will play a key role in the Gophers' success as well. Walsh posted a 13-3 singles record last year, including a 9-2 mark from the No. 3 position. She was also 12-2 at No. 2 doubles with former senior Addie Maxwell.
Goucher went 2-2 in the dual portion of its fall schedule, picking up victories over McDaniel and Penn St. Harrisburg. The spring season gets underway with a 1 p.m. trip to Salisbury on Saturday, March 8.