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Big Red tie for top spot in NCAC preseason polls

(L-R) Charlotte Purnode, Ashley Hammons  |  Photo by Jason Miller
(L-R) Charlotte Purnode, Ashley Hammons | Photo by Jason Miller

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Denison women's tennis enters the 2019 spring season tied with Kenyon College for the top spot in the North Coast Athletic Conference preseason rankings after both teams received four, first-place votes amongst all conference institutions. Denison and Kenyon each tallied 60 points in a tie for first, while DePauw landed in third place with 45 points, Ohio Wesleyan in fourth (37), and Oberlin in fifth (36). Wooster (25), Wittenberg (17), and Allegheny (8) rounded out the rankings within the conference.

Following their second-place finish at the 2018 NCAC Championship last season, the Big Red return in 2019 with an experienced squad of six seniors, including the program's top-two performers in Lauren Hawley and Emma Alsup. The NCAC Doubles Team of the Year in each of the last two seasons, Hawley and Alsup have combined for five All-NCAC first-team selections throughout their careers and a doubles record of 35-16 over the last two seasons.

The NCAC Player of the Year in 2017, Hawley posted a 12-11 singles record during her junior season and went 18-9 on the doubles court, while Alsup went 9-9 in singles action.

Seniors Megan Hickey and Ashley Hammons also return for their final season in Granville after combining for a 22-16 singles record in 2018 and teaming up on the No. 2 doubles court to go 9-7 on the season and finish as All-NCAC honorable mention selections.

After making an impact during her first year with the Big Red, sophomore Madeline Hart returns for her second season in Granville after posting an 8-6 record in No. 4 singles in 2018. She also joined senior Courtney Brown as a mainstay in No. 3 doubles to compile a record of 7-6.

Following a pair of tournament appearances in the fall season, the Big Red will begin their 2019 campaign this Saturday, Feb. 9 when they travel to Indianapolis, Ind. to take on the No. 10 ranked Maroons of the University of Chicago. The match is set to begin at 4 p.m.