BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Three Govs were ranked among the top 10 players and Austin Peay State University men’s tennis team was picked to repeat as Ohio Valley Conference champion in the OVC preseason men’s team and player rankings, released Friday.
Senior Jasmin Ademovic made it two years in a row that a Gov was picked as the league’s top player in the preseason, following Sean Bailey from a year ago. Juniors Dimitar Ristovski (second) and Aleksas Tverijonas (10th) also found spots on the list, making Austin Peay the only team with three preseason honorees. Belmont and Eastern Kentucky each placed two athletes on the list.
“I feel good about our team,” said head coach Ross Brown. “I’ve seen a huge jump in our improvement in practice and we’re trying to get that to come out in practice. Our big challenge is going to be doubles – we lost two great doubles players from last year and fine-tuning that doubles point will be huge for us.”
With that in mind, it would be no surprise that the Govs were picked as the top squad in the conference; with five first-place votes and 66 total points, Austin Peay narrowly edged out Eastern Kentucky (three votes, 62 points) for the top spot. Belmont, who the Govs defeated in the 2013 OVC Tournament finals for their first OVC Championship since 1974, were picked third (60 points).
Defending OVC regular-season champion Tennessee Tech was picked fourth (one first-place vote, 54 points), with Jacksonville State (41 points) and Morehead State (39) rounding out the top six.
“I think it’s important how we finish the year,” Brown said. “Between now and then, what’s really important is remaining healthy. I think it shows a lot of respect from the other coaches and it’s nice to be (ranked) there.”
Austin Peay returns to action with a 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14 at Southern Illinois.