ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville women's tennis team has been picked to finish eighth in the Big South Conference preseason poll that was announced recently.


Defending BSC champion Winthrop was the preseason pick to win the championship as the Lady Eagles picked up nine first-place bids and 99 points in earning its eighth consecutive preseason No. 1 ranking. Charleston Southern claimed one first-place vote and 85 points to place second in the poll, just ahead of Coastal Carolina's 78 points.  In fourth with 67 points was Campbell, followed by Liberty at 58 points.  Radford landed in the No. 6 slot with 52 points, while Gardner-Webb's 50 points was good for seventh.  UNC Asheville garnered 27 points for eighth, while new Big South member Longwood collected 18 points for ninth.  Rounding out the poll was Presbyterian College with 16 points.


Asheville was a very young team last season and finished with a 6-16 overall record. The Bulldogs return just about everybody from last year and should be much improved in 2013.


"We've got a good team coming back and have added some new players," stated Asheville coach Lise Gregory. "We think we have a chance to be much better in 2013. Like always, we need to stay from injuries and keep improving with each match."


The Bulldogs open the 2013 season at home on Saturday when they host Lees-McRae at the Asheville Racquet Club Downtown location starting at 3 p.m.