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Recruiting Feature
2016 Top Mid-Major Women's Classes

On Monday, the Tennis Recruiting Network published its list of the top men's mid-major recruiting classes. Today, we take a look at the women.

Almost 900 senior girls have reported their commitments at TennisRecruiting.net, and the bulk of these commitments have been to schools outside the so-called "power" conferences that get automatic bids to the College Football Playoff. In tennis, we consider the power conferences to be the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC - as well as the Ivy League.

The rankings in this article include all teams outside of those conferences.


Top 25 Mid-Major Women's Recruiting Classes (through May 23)

The Tennis Recruiting Network is excited to present the Top 25 Mid-Major Women's Recruiting Classes for 2016. This list is based on commitments reported on or before May 23, 2016. As is our policy, these rankings do not consider incoming transfer students.

So here they are - the Top 25...

Rank School Rating  Name State
1 Pepperdine Hanna Chang CA
    Ashley Lahey CA
2 Fresno State Juliane Triebe GER
    Katerina Stloukalova CZE
    Georgia Lawson GBR
3 William & Mary Rosie Cheng NZL
    Charlotte Madson PA
    Natalia Perry PA
4 San Diego Daniela Morales CA
    Nicole Anderson CA
    Jessica Regehr GER
5 Furman Danielle Vines TN
    Katarina Kozarov SRB
    Hannah Ferrett GBR
    Anna Walter GA
6 Boise State Lilian Poling NY
    Wilhelmina Palmer SWE
    Morgan Cooley ID
    Jovana Kuljanin CA
7 St. John's Jessica Livianu NY
8 Evansville A. Pascual-Larrinaga ESP
    Theodora Soldatou GRE
    Diana Tkachenko RUS
9 Richmond Dessislava Zlateva BUL
    Lea Owens MD
    Kiana Marshall BAR
    Lyndell Giffenig CT
10 Loyola Marymount Camila Tumosa ARG
    Caisey Lee Emery CA
    Siobhan Anderson AUS
    Siena Sharf CA
11 Old Dominion Holly Hutchinson GBR
12 Florida Intl Ulyana Grib BLR
13 Utah State Lucy Octave IRL
    Sophia Haleas IL
    Eleanor Bullock OH
    Hannah Jones UT
14 Louisiana Tech Nadja Manjon Mihalic ESP
    Jill Van Den Dungen NED
15 BYU Samantha Smith NV
    Polina Malykh RUS
    Kate Cusick FL
16 Nevada Milena Achlamov FRA
    Phonexay Chitdara BEL
    Carlijn Ketting NED
17 Navy Ansofi Wreder FL
    Meghan O'Malley TX
    Emily Louie-Meadors FL
    Danika Kahatapitiya VA
    Aimee Dervishian GA
18 Cincinnati Anna Philp GBR
    Caroline Morton IA
19 Florida Atlantic Ja'cara Gillis FL
    Laura Fabrizi FL
    Naiya Oden FL
    Danielle Cuteri TX
20 Tulane Christina Sisti NY
    Julieta Dalmau FL
    Isabelle Entenza SWE
21 Chicago Marjorie Antohi TX
    Estefania Navarro FL
    Alyssa Rudin CA
22 SCF Jovana Petrovic SWE
    Minja Gligic SCG
23 Rice Priya Niezgoda TX
24 North Texas Kalani Soli CA
    Alexandra Heczey HUN
25 Western Kentucky Natalia De Ugarte BOL
    Lisa Friess AUT

Honorable Mention

Other women's programs that received strong consideration from our experts are (listed alphabetically): Bowling Green, Cal Poly, James Madison, UC Davis, UMass, Williams, and Winthrop.


Surging Waves

Life is always picturesque in Malibu, but things look especially good if you are talkng about the Pepperdine women's tennis program.

Fresh off their fourth straight WCC Tournament Title, the Waves were awarded the No. 8 national seed in the NCAA Championships. After defeating Idaho and in-state rival Southern California on their home courts, Pepperdine knocked out Texas in Tulsa to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1994 - closing out the season with a No. 9 mark in the Oracle/ITA rankings.

The Waves' success continued in the individual NCAA events, where two Pepperdine doubles tandems reached the NCAA doubles round of 16 before freshman standout Luisa Stefani, who was awarded ITA National Rookie of the Year honors, advanced to the semifinals of last week's NCAA singles tournament.

With the 2016 season in the books, Pepperdine has a lot to look forward to in 2017 - with the No. 1 mid-major recruiting class coming to town this Fall.

Only three Blue Chip seniors committed to programs from mid-major conferences, and two of those are heading to Pepperdine. Both Hanna Chang and Ashley Lahey have been ranked in the Top 10 of the senior class, and they will be teammates next year for the Waves. The pair combined for a whopping twelve victories at last year's Hardcourt Nationals in San Diego, and they have 28 collective wins over Blue Chip opponents. Chang recently advanced to the semifinals of the Easter Bowl - defeating several big-time opponents along the way.

2016 marks the second straight year that Head Coach Per Nilsson has brought in the top-ranked recruiting class in our mid-major rankings, and this is the fourth time overall that Pepperdine has been ranked No. 1.


Take Five

At No. 2 in our rankings is Fresno State. The Bulldogs are notable in that 2016 marks their first-ever appearance in our recruiting class rankings that started back in 2006. Three strong international recruits - all with UTRs above 10 - should bolster the Bulldogs lineup in 2017 and beyond.

At No. 3, Head Coach Tyler Thomson has brought in the strongest recruiting class that William & Mary has seen since earning the top-ranked mid-major class back in 2006. New Zealand recruit Rosie Cheng headlines a three-woman class that is complemented by two strong recruits from Pennsylvania.

Rounding out our Top 5 are the USD Torreros and Furman Paladins.


State Breakdowns

The twenty five teams in our rankings represent fifteen different states. Not surprisingly, the state with the most ranked recruiting classes is California. The Golden State has four ranked classes - all in the Top 10 and three of the Top 4.

As we mentioned before, Pepperdine (No. 1), Fresno State (2), and San Diego (4) all have ranked classes, and they are joined by Loyola Marymount who check in at No. 10.

Two other states have three ranked classes: Virginia and Florida. Virginia actually has two classes in our Top 10 - William & Mary - who breaks up the Cali party at No. 3 - and Richmond (No. 9). Old Dominion is just outside the Top 10 at No. 11.

Ranked recruiting classes from Florida include Florida International (No. 12), Florida Atlantic (19), and State College of Florida (22).


Conference Call

These ranked classes hail from twelve different conferences - including ten conferences from NCAA Division I. The two D-I conferences that stand out from the rest are Conference USA and the West Coast Conference.

Conference USA leads all others with a whopping seven ranked classes, albeit none in the Top 10. The Old Dominion Monarchs lead the charge for C-USA at No. 11, and they are joined by conference bretheren Florida International (No. 12), Louisiana Tech (14), Florida Atlantic (19), Rice (23), North Texas (24), and Western Kentucky (25).

The West Coast Conference has four recruiting classes in our rankings with three in the Top 10. The WCC is paced by California schools Pepperdine (No. 1), San Diego (4), and Loyola Marymount (10) - and they are joined by BYU (15).


Outside NCAA Division I

As mentioned above, there are two programs on our list that do not come from NCAA Division I: the Chicago Maroons and SCF Manatees.

The University of Chicago is no stranger to our recruiting class rankings, appearing in our Division III recruiting class rankings every year since 2011. However, this is the first time that head coach Jay Tee has put together a women's recruiting class that made our mid-major list. Three Four-Star recruits - Marjorie Antohi, Estefania Navarro, and Alyssa Rudin are heading to the Windy City from the tennis-rich states of Texas, Florida, and California, respectively, to join a squad that reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament in 2016.

Perhaps more notable is the State College of Florida. Head Coach Clayton Taylor and Assistant Coach Sam Johnson are bringing the first-ever nationally-ranked recruiting class to a junior college. The SCF class consists of international players Jovana Petrovic and Minja Gligic. Petrovic is a national champion from Sweden who has participated in the European Championships and won a mixed doubles title at the Eddie Herr International, while Gligic of Serbia has been ranked No. 1 in her home country and reached the singles final of the Serbian Nation Championship.


On Deck: NCAA Division III Rankings

Recruiting class ranking season continues at Tennis Recruiting. This coming Monday, TennisRecruiting.net will release rankings of the Top 25 men's recruiting classes in NCAA Division III. Soon after we will wrap up our spring recruiting class rankings with the top D-III women.


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Colette Lewis has covered topflight junior events as a freelance journalist for over a decade. Read her weekly column, follow her on Twitter, and and find more of her daily commentary at ZooTennis.

Page updated on Saturday, April 01, 2017
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