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Softball, baseball, tennis start 2014 seasons

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Mike Davenport, who has coached the University of North Georgia softball team for 13 years, starts the 2014 season this weekend with his Nighthawks ranked No. 15 in a national preseason poll.

The University of North Georgia's softball, baseball and tennis teams open the regular season this weekend, with softball and men's tennis nationally ranked. UNG's basketball teams resume their regular schedules this weekend.

UNG's softball team, coach by Mike Davenport, is ranked No. 15 in the initial National Fastpitch Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll announced Wednesday by the association. The Nighthawks are scheduled to open the season Feb. 1 at the Peach Belt/Sunshine State Conference Challenge in Columbus. 

UNG finished the 2013 season making its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament after going 36-14 on the season. The Nighthawks finished third in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) after going 16-6 in PBC play.

Central Oklahoma was the unanimous No. 1 selection in the NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll, which is voted on by 16 NCAA Division II head coaches representing all eight NCAA regions.

The UNG baseball team, which returns 18 letter-winners off last year's team, opens the 2014 season Feb. 1 with a 1 p.m. doubleheader with visiting Saint Leo University at Bob Stein Stadium. It marks the team's 15th season under head coach Tom Cantrell.

Also on Saturday, UNG's tennis team, featuring the nationally-ranked men's duo of Matheus Guida and Mateus Camasmie, start the 2014 season hosting non-conference foe Erskine College. Guida also has been tabbed as a PBC Men's Tennis Preseason All-Conference selection, chosen by the league's head coaches and starts the season No. 11 in Southeast region singles rankings. Guida and Camasmie are ranked No. 15 in the nation and sixth in the Southeast region. First serves for the men's and women's teams are set for 1 p.m. Saturday at the UNG Tennis Complex at Yahoola Creek Park in Dahlonega.

After mid-week games were postponed due to inclement weather, UNG's basketball teams will return to the court Feb. 1 when Montevallo comes to Memorial Hall for a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader beginning at 1:30 p.m. The Nighthawks' Peach Belt Conference doubleheader with visiting Columbus State University, originally scheduled for Jan. 29 has been rescheduled for a to be determined date later in the season.

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