Skillman, N.J. – Both Columbus State University tennis teams will begin the 2014 season ranked inside the top-10 as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association released its annual preseason rankings.
The Lady Cougars are fifth in the rankings earning their highest preseason ranking ever. CSU finished last season ranked sixth in the nation and has now been in the top-10 in nine straight polls.
In the Southeast Region, Columbus State is second behind two-time defending national champions, Armstrong Atlantic State University. Seven of the top-eight teams in the region are Peach Belt Conference schools.
On the individual level, senior Paola Cigui will begin the year as the second ranked singles player in the country. Cigui, the two-time PBC Player of the Year, became the first Columbus State player ever to become the top-ranked singles player in the nation last season after posting a 22-0 record. In her CSU career, Cigui is 45-0.
Also, freshman Beatriz Leon will begin the season ranked inside the top-25 after impressing at the ITA Southeast Regional earlier this fall. Leon is currently ranked 23rd after advancing to the regional singles final before falling to Cigui.
The duo is also ranked eighth in the country after capturing the ITA Southeast Regional doubles title.
Inside the region, three players are ranked in the top-10 including Cigui (No. 1), Leon (No. 6) and Camila Tobar (No. 9). Senior Olivera Jokic is also ranked coming in at the 12th spot.
In addition, all three of CSU's doubles teams will begin the season regionally ranked. Cigui and Leon are currently third while Laura Chapman and Jokic are ranked eighth. Tobar and Elena Preadca wrap up the rankings in ninth.
Columbus State's men's squad is also among the nation's elite once again coming in at the 10th spot. The Cougars have now been ranked inside the top-10 in 13 consecutive ITA polls.
CSU does not have an individual player ranked but Marco Almorin and Adi Malicbegovic are ranked ninth in the nation in doubles.
The Cougars are the third ranked team in the region behind Armstrong and Lander. Similar to the women, the top-seven teams ranked in the Southeast Region are all PBC schools.
Almorin (No. 15), Danilo Sardelli (No. 17) and Malicbegovic (No. 19) are all ranked in the region while the duo of Almorin and Malicbegovic are currently third in doubles.
Columbus State will begin the regular season in February.