Ohio State and Northwestern open 2009 atop the ITA Rankings
Two No. 1s in the Big Ten: The Ohio State men and Northwestern women open 2009 at No. 1 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Rankings. Northwestern finished No. 2 in the final rankings of the 2008 season and look to finish one spot higher this year with three players currently ranked in the ITA's top 30 in singles, including top-ranked sophomore, Maria Mosolova. Ohio State completed its 2008 season ranked No. 3 and is coming off a stellar fall season of play which even saw two Buckeye players, Bryan Koneicko and Justin Kronauge, square off against one another in the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships this past November.
 
Rounding Out the Top 10: On the women's side, Northwestern is followed in the preseason rankings by (in order): California, UCLA, Baylor, Stanford, Georgia, Florida, Georgia Tech, Duke and USC.  The Wildcats received 17 of 34 first-place votes, edging out defending national champions, UCLA, which received 14 first-place votes while California, Georgia and Duke earned one first-place vote each. For the men, following Ohio State is: Texas, Georgia, UCLA, Virginia, USC, Baylor, Tennessee, Mississippi and Florida. The Buckeyes claimed 17 of 33 first-place votes, followed by defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs and runner-up Texas who received 10 and four first-place votes, respectively. Also receiving two first-place votes were the UCLA Bruins.
 
No. 1 on No. 1: It seems quite fitting that the top-ranked men's and women's players would come from the top-ranked tennis programs. With Ohio State's Bryan Koneicko and Maria Mosolova of Northwestern both entering 2009 at No. 1, along with their respective teams, such is the case. Koniecko, a senior from Long Island, N.Y., has an 11-1 record and recently defeated his teammate Justin Kronauge in the finals of the ITA National Indoor Championships. Meanwhile, Mosolova, a sophomore from Moscow, is 12-2 and was named the 2008 ITA Women's National Player to Watch.
 
Notre Dame, Ole Miss Tops in Doubles: Last year, Notre Dame's Kelcy Tefft wrapped up her 2008 season ranked third with former doubles partner, Brook Buck, after capturing the 2007 ITA National Indoor title. Tefft and her new doubles teammate Kristy Frilling open up the 2009 season ranked No. 1 after making it to the finals of the 2008 ITA National Indoor Championships. Also in their first year as a team, Ole Miss men's tennis seniors Bram ten Berge and Jonas Berg laid claim to the No. 1 spot. The pair teamed up together for the first time in September to win the USTA Invitational in New York.  They went on to win the ITA All-American Championships in October and reached the semifinals of the National Indoor Championships in November.
 
Rookies Still Rocking: Top-ranked Maria Mosolova entered the 2008 season with a No. 2 ranking, leading a strong class of freshman that placed three in the top 6 and a total of nine in the top 30 in the women's singles rankings. With this year's top frosh, Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia ranked seventh, there are not as many in the top ten but with eight seniors and eight sophomores ranked in the top 30, the freshmen are right behind them, tied with the juniors with seven each. On the men's side, Georgia Tech's Guillermo Gomez leads the way with six freshmen making an appearance in the top 30.
 
Kicking Off 2009: The ITA is kicking off the 2009 season in grand fashion with the inaugural ITA Kick-Off Weekend. This unique event showcases the top 60 men's and women's varsity teams in the country squaring off at 15 campus sites each. The 15 men's and 15 women's teams to win both of their matches at these events will be invited to play in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, February 13-16. 
 
Mark Your Calendar: The ITA National Men's and Women's Team Indoor Championships will take place next month. The 22nd ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships will be hosted by the University of Wisconsin at the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, February 13-16. The 35th ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships will be hosted by the University of Illinois at the Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago, February 13-16. The fifth-ranked Virginia men and No. 8 Georgia Tech women look to defend their crowns.
 
Next ITA Rankings: Weekly team rankings begin on Jan. 29. Singles and doubles rankings are published every other week starting Feb. 19.
 
Men's Tennis
ITA Division I Preseason Top 25:

1. Ohio State University (17)
2. University of Texas at Austin (4)
3. University of Georgia (10)
4. UCLA (2)
5. University of Virginia
6. University of Southern California
7. Baylor University
8. University of Tennessee
9. University of Mississippi
10. University of Florida
11. Florida State University
12. Stanford University
13. University of Tulsa
14. Pepperdine
15. University of Illinois
16. University of Michigan
17. University of Miami (Florida)
18. Texas A&M University
19. LSU
20. North Carolina
21. Texas Tech University
22. Oklahoma State University
23. University of Alabama
24. Rice University
25. California
 
Women's Tennis
ITA Division I Preseason Top 25:

1. Northwestern University (17)
2. California (1)
3. UCLA (14)
4. Baylor University
5. Stanford
6. University of Georgia (1)
7. University of Florida
8. Georgia Tech
9. Duke University (1)
10. University of Southern California
11. Clemson University
12. Vanderbilt University
13. University of Miami (Florida)
14. University of Arkansas
15. Fresno State
16. University of Texas at Austin
17. University of Notre Dame
18. North Carolina
19. University of Michigan
20. Florida State University
21. Arizona State University
22. College of William & Mary
23. University of Kentucky
24. University of Tennessee
25. TCU
 
Complete rankings can be found at

www.ITAtennis.com

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