Tuesday, June 7, 2011
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Clayton News Daily
Photo by Heather Middleton
From Staff Reports
Fresh off its best season program history, the Clayton State Laker women's tennis team garnered its highest season-ending national ranking ever on Tuesday.
The ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) released its final Top 50 poll of the 2011 season, and Clayton State finished the season ranked seventh in the nation in Division II. This marks the second straight season that Clayton State finished in the Top 10 in the final ITA poll, bettering last season when the Lakers finished ninth in the ITA Top 50.
Under first-year head coach Le'Trone Mason, Clayton State finished 18-8 overall for second straight season. On top of that, the Lakers advanced to the NCAA Division II "Final Four" for the first time in program history. Clayton State qualified for the NCAA "Sweet 16" with a thrilling 5-2 victory over Peach Belt Conference rival Columbus State in the second round, followed by victories over Queens (N.Y.) and California (Penn.) to advance to the "Final Four."
However, the Lakers fell to Lynn in the Division II national semifinals.
Overall, there were seven teams from the Peach Belt in the final rankings, including three in the Top 10. Armstrong Atlantic finished fourth, while Columbus State finished 10th. Also ranked were Flagler (12th), Georgia College (17th), Augusta State (29th) and Francis Marion (30th). NCAA Division II National Champion Berry was the top-ranked team in the final poll.