Top Women's Classes - 2013 Winter Rankings
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Spring Signing Day is a little over two months away, and coaches are busy locking up their recruits. A number of highly-ranked seniors have already made their college choices - either by making verbal commitments or having signed a Letter of Intent during the Fall Signing Period.
So... how is your favorite school doing? Last week, we took a look at the men's status. Today we take a look at the top women's programs. The Tennis Recruiting Network is proud to present its Winter Rankings of the Top 25 Women's Recruiting Classes for the Class of 2013.
TennisRecruiting.net has enlisted the aid of junior tennis experts from around the country to vote for the top classes. We list the panelists for this voting period below.
Each of our panelists submitted his/her take on the Top 25 recruiting classes. Schools received 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 points for each second-place vote, on down to 1 point for each 25th-place vote. The panelists did not consider incoming transfer students in their voting - and also did not consider players that started college in January.
Top 25 Women's Recruiting Classes (through January 3)
Here are the Winter Rankings of the top women's college recruiting classes. Point totals are shown in the right-most column - with the number of first-place votes in parentheses. All commitments reported through January 3, 2013 are included.
Also Receiving Votes
Other women's programs receiving votes are: California (57), Illinois (51), BYU (44), Furman (23), Cornell (15), SMU (15), Columbia (14), Nebraska (14), New Mexico (12), N.C. State (12), Florida Atlantic (10), South Carolina (9), Emory (6), Army (4), Bowdoin (3), Arizona (2), and Georgetown (1).
There was some disagreement among our 25 voters about who has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, but a majority of our panelists gave the nod to the University of North Carolina. The Tar Heels earned 15 of 25 first-place votes and 605 out of a possible 625 points to earn the top spot.
North Carolina has a strong tennis tradition, with 14 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and a Final Four appearance in 2010. Most recently, 2012 saw the Tar Heels reach No. 5 in the country with a 10-1 record in the challenging ACC conference, an overall record of 24-7, and an appearance in the Sweet 16. With four returning singles starters and last year's third-ranked recruiting class, Head Coach Brian Kalbas and the Tar Heels are looking to challenge Duke and Miami in 2013 to win their seventh ACC title and first since 2011 - and also to make some noise during May Madness.
Looking ahead, things might get even better in Chapel Hill next fall - when the nation's top recruiting class comes to town.
Jamie Loeb and Hayley Carter are both big-time recruits who should make an immediate impact for UNC. Loeb, who announced her decision during Signing Week, has had great success at all levels - winning state championships, USTA National Championships, ITF events, and pro tournaments.
Hayley Carter, who trains at Smith Stearns Academy, is another top prospect who has been ranked No. 1 on the Babolat Recruiting List. Carter has also won gold balls as well as ITF titles - and she set a record with 14 high school state championships in the state of South Carolina.
Coach Kalbas commented on his prized recruits in a school release.
"Bringing in Hayley and Jamie adds two of the best players in the country to our program," said Kalbas. "They are impressive, hard-working young women who come from tremendous families, and I think the family atmosphere within our program was a big part of why they decided to sign [at UNC]."
Competition at the Top
There are several impressive classes at the top of our rankings - starting with the Northwestern Wildcats in the No. 2 spot. Head Coach Claire Pollard attracted three strong recruits, including Blue Chip athletes Jillian Rooney and Madeline Lipp - the top-ranked players from Massachusetts and Illinois, respectively. The Northwestern class earned 562 points and two first-place votes.
The No. 2 and 3 positions were a virtual dead heat, with Stanford earning 561 points and five first-place votes. Cardinal recruit Taylor Davidson, who has been competing in ITF events recently, swept her four matches at the National Team Championships. And speaking of ITFs, future Stanford freshman Carol Zhao is currently ranked No. 10 among ITF juniors.
Rounding out the Top 6 are the Harvard Crimson (No. 4, two first-place votes), Oklahoma State Cowgirls (5, none) and the suprising Houston Cougars (6, one).
The conference representation in these rankings is fairly balanced among the high-major conferences. Indeed, 24 of the 25 programs appearing on the list come from the seven high-major tennis conferences - the six conferences associated with BCS football bowls plus the Ivy League.
The Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference lead the way with five ranked teams apiece. In addition to the top-ranked Tar Heels, the ACC is represented by Georgia Tech (No. 7), Wake Forest (11), Boston College (12), and Duke (17).
The SEC contingent is led by the Tennessee Volunteers (No. 10), and joing them in the rankings are LSU (16), Florida (19), Vanderbilt (20), and Texas A&M (21).
Close behind those two conferences are the Ivy League and Big 12 who have four ranked teams apiece. Other conferences with more than one representative are the Pac-12 and Big Ten with three and two ranked teams, respectively.
Three conferences have multiple representatives in the Top 10. the ACC, Pac-12, and Ivy League each have two programs among the Top 10.
The University of Houston broke into the ITA rankings this week for the first time since March 2006. The Cougars are also the only program outside the power conferences in our recruiting class rankings - checking in at No. 6 in the poll and earning a first-place vote.
The difference? First-year Houston head coach Patrick Sullivan. Sullivan has inked a pair of international recruits with experience on the WTA circuit - Despoina Vogasari of Greece and Rocio Martin Fernandez of Spain. Sullivan is no stranger to strong recruiting - having recruited the top-ranked mid-major class at Stephen F. Austin in 2011.
Scattershooting through the rankings...
- Head of the Class... 2013 marks the eighth year of recruiting class rankings, and three programs have perfect attendance records. The Stanford Cardinal (No. 3), Princeton Tigers (9), and UCLA Bruins (13) have all appeared in the recruiting class rankings each year from 2006-2013.
- Changes Ahead... The top of the rankings might have looked different if we had known about Caroline Doyle's commitment to the Cardinal. Doyle, who will turn 17 in March but reclassified as a senior to enroll at Stanford in 2013-14, might push Coach Forood's recruiting class up to the top spot when our Spring Rankings are released in May. The Blue Chip athlete announced her decision on January 11 - a week after our voting for the Winter Rankings had begun.
- First of Many... Only one program is making its first-ever appearance in the recruiting class rankings - Texas Christian University. Head coach Dave Borelli has attracted a pair of strong international recruits to put the Horned Frogs at No. 18.
- Fast Start... Five head coaches who are in their first year serving at their respective schools have attracted a top recruiting class: Patrick Sullivan (Houston), Rodney Harmon (Georgia Tech), Laura Granville (Princeton), Melissa Schaub (Ohio State), and Julia Sell (LSU).
- Welcome Back... Two programs are back in the recruiting class rankings for the first time since 2007: Dartmouth (No. 22) and Baylor (25).
- Familiar Faces... All of last year's Final Four programs appear in the recruiting class rankings, including National Champion Florida (No. 19), runner-up UCLA (13), and Final Four participants USC (8) and Duke (17).
Panelists for January 2013
The panelists for this voting period are shown below alphabetically. Please join us in thanking them for donating their time and talents to this effort.
- Joseph Braden, Director of Tennis at Schwartz Tennis Center, USTA/Midwest Tournament Director.
- Deb Cahill, Chief Operation Officer, Austin Tennis Academy
- Casey Chapin, National Tournament Director, Director, Hudlow Tennis Center
- Sonny Dearth, Daily Press newspaper and dailypress.com Web site in Newport News, Va.
- Jean Desdunes, Senior Director, USTA Diversity and Inclusion
- Tim Donovan, Donovan Tennis Strategies, DTS College Prospects Showcases
- Caerwyn Evans, Indian Wells Tennis Garden Junior Academy - Senior Academy Professional
- Barry Friedman, Director of Tennis, The Claremont Club, National Tournament Director G18's National Team Championships, tournament director USTA Men's Pro Circuit (Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center USTA Pro Classic)
- Sally Grabham, National Tournament Director, USTA Winter Nationals, National Junior Competition Committee, Southwest Junior Competition Committee, Central Arizona Delegate
- Sue Hansen, Independent Educational Consultant, Founder of Southern California College Athletic Consulting
- Marty Hennessy, Director of Tennis at The Stirling Club, USPTA professional, National Tournament Director
- Larry Jackson, Director, Dayton Center Courts and Tennis Academy, National Tournament Director
- Randy Jenks, USPTA National, National Tournament Director, The Firehouse $10k Tournament Director
- Pua Johnson, USTA National and ITA Collegiate Referee
- Ali Jones, Contributor to TennisRecruiting.net, USTA/Texas Junior Tennis Blog
- Ernie Katko, Junior Development Coach in Chicago, USTA High Performance Coach, USPTA, PTR, Member of USTA/Midwest Coaches Commission
- Elissa Kinard, Coordinator of USTA Junior and Collegiate Competition, former college coach
- Patty Lambropoulos, Junior Tennis Coordinator, College Park Athletic Club, National Tournament Director, Chicago District Board of Director and Endorser, Midwest Junior Competion Committee.
- Colette Lewis, ZooTennis.com
- Phil Parrish, Tennis Director, The Longfellow Club, National Tournament Director, Former College Coach
- Robert Sasseville, National Tournament Director, USTA National Referee
- Clayton Taylor, Former ATP and Collegiate Coach. Former Director of U.S. International Hard Courts and National Opens.
- Timothy Thompson, Director of Tennis at Bainbridge Tennis, Tournament Director.
- Julie Wrege, TennisInformation.com, TennisRecruiting.net, former National Tournament Director, former USTA ranking chair
- Evan Zeder, Athletic DNA
Signing Day, Then More Rankings
With this list, the Tennis Recruiting Network concludes its Winter Recruiting Class Rankings. But we will be back in the spring - shortly after the Spring Signing Day - with updated rankings. During that time, we will also post rankings featuring schools outside the high major conferences.
Also, keep in mind that there is a lot of time left in the recruiting season. Look for teams to rise - and fall - in the rankings once more commitments are in.
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