Top Women's Classes - 2014 Winter Rankings
by TennisRecruiting.net, 3 February 2014
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The Spring Signing Period is only two months away, and many senior girls have already made their college decisions. Over 400 girls - including 85 of our Top 100 - either signed Letters of Intent in the fall or have announced verbal commitments.
So... how is your favorite school doing? Last week, we took a look at the men. Today, the Tennis Recruiting Network and Solfire show you where things stand with the ladies... with our Winter Rankings of the Top 25 Women's Recruiting Classes for the Class of 2014.
TennisRecruiting.net and Solfire have 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 4)
Here are the Winter Rankings of the top women's college recruiting classes, presented by Solfire. Point totals are shown in the right-most column - with the number of first-place votes in parentheses. All commitments reported through January 4, 2014 are included.
Also Receiving Votes
Other women's programs receiving votes are: Kansas (76), Indiana (44), Georgia Tech (38), Minnesota (38), California (22), Clemson (12), Elon (12), Wesleyan (CT) (11), Nebraska (10), Air Force (9), Dartmouth (9), Miami (OH) (8), William & Mary (8), Georgia State (7), Washington (6), Virginia (4), Oklahoma (3), Stetson (1), and Utah (1).
Gators Pack a Tough Bite
In our men's rankings that we published last week, our panel had a tough time coming up with a No. 1 recruiting class. There was no such issue with the women. We had a record number of panelists - twenty-six in all - for these rankings, and all 26 first-place votes were cast for the Florida Gators.
Over the past four years, head coach Roland Thornqvist and his Florida program have been one of the two top squads in the nation. The Gators have reached the Final Four each of the past four seasons, winning back-to-back national titles in 2011
. Despite the loss of all-everything Lauren Embree, there are lofty expectations for this year's team, ranked No. 2 in the latest ITA rankings
With this year's recruiting haul, there will be lofty expectations for future Florida programs as well. Thornqvist is bringing in three elite-level recruits next year in Brooke Austin, Peggy Porter, and Josie Kuhlman. All three young woman hold WTA rankings in the Top 1,000, with Austin, Porter and Kuhlman ranked No. 590, 766 and 914, respectively as of January 2014. The trio was a force at the highest level of U.S. junior tennis last August, posting sixteen singles victories at the Girls' 18 Nationals in San Diego. One of those singles victories saw Austin oust Porter in the round of 16 before she went on to win the Bronze Ball. All three are ranked among the Top 10 on the Babolat Recruiting Lists,
"We are really excited about all three of them," said Thornqvist in a school release. "They are replacing three of the most accomplished players we've ever had on this campus, as far as women's tennis is concerned. So, they certainly have big shoes to fill."
As we do with most highly-rated players, Tennis Recruiting actually ran feature articles on all three girls when they committed. You can access commitment announcement articles on Austin, Porter and Kuhlman from our archives.
Give Me Five
While Florida was an obvious choice for the top position, there was also a clear-cut No. 2. UCLA secured the second spot with 603 points - 35 points more than No. 3 Georgia. The Bruins - who reached the Final Four last year after ending the season as national runner up in 2012 - have a pair of Blue Chip recruits coming in next Fall in Kristin Wiley and Maia Magill. They might have given Florida a run for its money if top recruit Mayo Hibi had decided to attend UCLA rather than turn professional.
Rounding out the Top 5 are Georgia (No. 3), North Carolina (4), and Notre Dame (5).
A look at the rankings shows that the fifteen programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference hold down seven of the 25 spots in the rankings. Almost half of the recruiting classes from the ACC appear in our rankings.
Three ACC squads appear in the Top 10 on our list, starting with the North Carolina Tar Heels
at No. 4. They are joined at the top by Notre Dame
(No. 5) and Duke
(10). Other ACC programs in the rankings include Virginia Tech
(16), Wake Forest
(19), and Florida State
The only conference that proportionately outperformed the larger ACC was the Ivy League, which placed half of its programs - four in all - in the rankings. Other conferences with multiple teams in the rankings are the SEC (5 programs), PAC-12 (3), and Big Ten (2).
Beyond the Power Conferences
Three squads in our rankings came from outside the so-called "power conferences" in college tennis that consist of the NCAA's big five football conferences and the Ivy League.
The Rice Owls of Conference USA lead the way with the No. 9 recruiting class. Blue Chip recruit Lindsey Hodge of Roswell, Ga. and 5-Star senior Savannah Durkin of Miramar, Fla. are heading to Houston this fall. We carried an article about Hodge's decision during our Fall Signing Week article series.
Other programs outside the power conferences in our rankings are the St. Mary's Gaels of the West Coast Conference at No. 23 and the No. 24 Houston Cougars from the American Conference.
Scattershooting through the rankings...
- Still Perfect: 2013 marks the ninth year of recruiting class rankings, and two programs have perfect attendance records. The Princeton Tigers and UCLA Bruins have all appeared in the recruiting class rankings each year from 2006-2014.
- Welcome aboard: Three teams are making their first-ever appearance in our recruiting class rankings: Louisville (No. 16), St. Mary's (23), and South Carolina (25).
- Clearing the Bar: In addition to our newcomers, four other programs have achieved their highest-ever ranking in our poll: top-ranked Florida (No. 1), UCLA (2), Rice (9), and Texas Tech (12).
- Welcome Back: The Rice Owls have had the longest hiatus from our rankings. The last time Rice appeared was back in 2006.
- Getting It Done: Houston Head Coach Patrick Sullivan can certainly recruit. After attracting the top-ranked mid-major class at Stephen F. Austin in 2011, Sullivan has the Cougars in the rankings for the second straight year - and only the second time in school history.
- Home Cooking: Two programs in our rankings have recruiting classes that consist only of recruits from their home states: Ohio State (No. 15) and St. Mary's (CA) (23).
- Going Big: Why do the Gators have the top-ranked class? Probably because they have both of highest-ranked girls who have made college commitments. Brooke Austin and Peggy Porter are ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on this week's Babolat College Recruiting List.
Panelists for January 2014
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.
- Deb Cahill, Chief Operating Officer, Austin Tennis Academy
- Sonny Dearth, Daily Press newspaper and dailypress.com Web site in Newport News, Va.
- Jean Desdunes, Senior Director, USTA Junior and Collegiate Competition
- Tim Donovan, Donovan Tennis Strategies, DTS College Exposure Showcases
- 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 Hansen College Strategies
- Larry Haugness, USTA/Missouri Valley Board of Directors, National Tournament Director, PTR National Tester, USPTA, General Manager of WTT Lasers
- Granger Huntress, Texas College Tennis blog
- 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
- David "The Koz" Kozlowski, Inside Tennis With The Koz, The Tennis Channel
- Colette Lewis, ZooTennis.com
- Tony Minnis, Former head coach, LSU women's tennis, host of Inside College Tennis with Tony Minnis
- Phil Parrish, Tennis Director, The Longfellow Club, National Tournament Director, Former College Coach
- Robert Sasseville, National Tournament Director, USTA National Referee
- Kathy Sell Smith, Former member of USTA Collegiate Varsity Committee, Former head coach of Princeton women's tennis, private coach
- Lisa Stone, ParentingAces.com
- 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, Sales and Sponsorship Manager at Athletic DNA
- John Ziegler, President at Solfire
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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