The LaGrange women's tennis team was picked fourth in the 2018 USA South West Division preseason poll released by the conference Thursday. The Panthers also received a first place vote for the first time.
LC went 10-9 last season and reached the USA South Tournament. The Panthers return sophomore Jenna Eppes, the USA South Rookie of the Year and a All-Conference first team selection. Eppes posted an 11-8 record at No. 1 singles. Junior Liz Minick went 10-8 at No. 3 singles. In addition to Eppes and Minick, the Panthers add back to the roster seniors Ali Herring and Kaitlin Smith. Herring was 12-3 at No. 5/6 singles and Smith went 10-5 at No. 4/5 singles in 2016.
Covenant College was selected as the West Division favorite. The Scots were last spring's USA South West Division regular season champion and the conference tournament runner-up. Covenant received 43 total points and four first place votes. Placing second in the poll with 42 points and three first place votes was Piedmont College. In third place, Huntingdon College collected 34 points, followed by the Panthers with 31 points and the final first place vote. Agnes Scott College placed fifth with 30 points to round out the top-half of the poll.
Methodist University was picked to be the East Division favorite. The Monarchs are the defending USA South East Division regular season champion and won the conference tournament title for the second straight year.
The 2018 USA South Women's Tennis Tournament will be played April 13-15 in LaGrange as a part of the USA South Spring Sports Festival, hosted by the City of LaGrange and Troup County. The tournament will take place both at the McCluskey Tennis Center and the LaGrange College courts. The top-four teams from each division will advance to the tournament.
The Panthers open their spring schedule Feb. 17 with a USA South match at Wesleyan.