By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo – Defending national champion Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) opens the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the 2013 NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Blue Raiders, who won their third all-time national crown last December with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), claimed 20-of-21 first-place votes and 591 points en route to the top spot.
A perennial powerhouse in NAIA women’s soccer, Lindsey Wilson has been ranked in every poll since the start of the 1999 season, including an active string of 120-straight top 10 mentions dating back to Sept. 17, 2002. The Blue Raiders, led by returning All-Americans Renee Hurd and Natasha Gensetter, begin their quest for a 14th-consecutive Mid-South Conference crown on August 26 against No. 21 Davenport (Mich.).
Olivet Nazarene – 2012 national runner-up – claims the No. 2 position, its highest ranking all-time, with one first-place vote and 566 points. Forward Elizabeth Wahl highlights the returners for a Tigers squad that finished 19-4-1 a year ago. Wahl tied for the team lead with 23 points on 10 goals and three assists in 2012. Olivet Nazarene opens its season on August 30 against Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio).
No. 3 Spring Arbor (Mich.), No. 4 Vanguard (Calif.) and No. 5 Concordia (Ore.) each jump one spot to round out the top five, respectively.
No significant movement occurred throughout the poll with No. 8 Oklahoma City, No. 10 Northwood (Fla.), No. 16 Graceland (Iowa) and No. 19 Benedictine (Kan.) making the biggest improvement – two spots each.
No. 25 Judson (Ill.), who is back in the Top 25 after a one-poll hiatus, is the ranking’s lone newcomer. The Eagles finished tied for second in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) last season with a 19-6-0 record.
Fourteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Preseason Top 25, led by four from the Southern States Athletic Conference – No. 7 Mobile (Ala.), No. 12 Martin Methodist (Tenn.), No. 14 William Carey (Miss.) and No. 22 Brenau (Ga.). The CCAC and Heart of America Athletic Conference are tied for second with three teams each.
This poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independent/unaffiliated groups. The first regular-season poll will be announced Sept. 10.
For the complete women’s soccer ratings calendar, click here.
Notes: (All information dates back to 1999) Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) claims its second-straight and NAIA-best 43rd all-time No. 1 ranking … The Blue Raiders own the longest active streak of consecutive appearances in the Top 25 with 150-consecutive mentions, including a string of 120-straight top 10 rankings … The preseason No. 1 mark is the first for Lindsey Wilson since 2007 … Former NAIA member Azusa Pacific (Calif.) boasts the second-most No. 1’s with 33, followed by Westmont (Calif.) (19), Concordia (Ore.) (16) and former member Lee (Tenn.) (16) … No. 5 Concordia owns the second longest active streak at 130-straight polls … Three teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2012: Lindsey Wilson, Lee and Concordia … Lindsey Wilson, Lee, No. 3 Spring Arbor (Mich.), and Concordia were ranked in the top 10 in every poll last season … A total of 39 programs were ranked in 2012 … No. 2 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) earns its highest all-time ranking after finishing runner-up at the 2012 national championship … Lee’s 2011 squad is the last team to receive the No. 1 preseason ranking and win the national title in the same season.2013 NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 20)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (20)||20-4-1||591|
|2||3||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) (1)||19-4-1||566|
|3||4||Spring Arbor (Mich.)||20-3-2||543|
|9||9||Texas at Brownsville||16-4-1||437|
|12||13||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||15-4-0||381|
|14||15||William Carey (Miss.)||14-5-1||338|
|15||16||Robert Morris (Ill.)||16-7-0||330|
|17||17||Cal State San Marcos||11-6-3||293|
|24||25||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||14-2-2||139|
Others Receiving Votes: Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) 67; Viterbo (Wis.) 66; Carroll (Mont.) 66; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 44; Bellevue (Neb.) 36; Biola (Calif.) 35; Grace (Ind.) 28; Indiana Wesleyan 23; Science & Arts (Okla.) 15; Northwest (Wash.) 10; Montreat (N.C.) 6; Indiana Tech 6; Westminster (Utah) 5; Oklahoma Wesleyan 4; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 4.
^ 2012 NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches Postseason Top 25 Poll