By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) will begin the 2012 campaign in a spot it has held for six-straight polls - the No. 1 position. The 2011 national champions gathered 529 total points and all 19 first-place votes in the 2012 NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday.
National semifinalist Baker (Kan.) grabs the No. 2 spot with 510 points. Jumping up two spots is No. 3 Southern Poly (Ga.) with 489 points. No. 4 Rio Grande (Ohio) and No. 5 William Carey (Miss.) round out the top five with 479 and 465 points, respectively.
The top ranking is the 37th for Lindsey Wilson since 2000, which is now the most of any program. The Blue Raiders expect back a few key starters from a team that captured its ninth national championship. NAIA First Team All-American Lebogang Moloto finished his 2011 campaign with 11 goals and nine assists. Goaltender Yuta Nomra will look to add to his 14 shutouts from last year and a 0.51 goals against average. Lindsey Wilson finished the year with its first unblemished record since 1998 at 23-0-0.
The two newcomers to the poll are No. 20 Taylor (Ind.) and No. 24 Embry-Riddle (Fla.). Both programs were last ranked in the final 2011 regular-season poll on Nov. 13.
No. 9 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) made the biggest shift up after a No. 19 ranking in the 2011 postseason poll.
The Southern States Athletic Conference leads all conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups with five teams in the Top 25: Southern Poly, William Carey, Auburn Montgomery, No. 12 Mobile (Ala.) and No. 17 Belhaven (Miss.). The Heart of America Athletic Conference placed a trio of ranked clubs in the poll.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference/independents/unaffiliated groups. The first regular-season poll will be announced on Sept. 4.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) breaks a tie with Rio Grande (Ohio) for the most all-time No. 1 rankings with 37, followed by Rio Grande (Ohio) at 36, Bethel (Tenn.) (11), Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (9), Hastings (Neb.) (8), Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (5) and Concordia (Calif.) (5)... The Blue Raiders have now been at No. 1 in the preseason six times (2012, 2010, 2006, 2002, 2001, 2000)... Last year, there were 47 programs ranked in 13 polls and 14 of those teams held a spot each week... Rio Grande has been ranked in the top 10 for the last 37-straight polls, dating back to the start of the 2009 season... Overall, there have been 16 different teams to claim the No. 1 spot... Lindsey Wilson holds the distinction of being consecutively ranked the longest among active schools - 58-straight polls, dating back to the 2007 Preseason Top 25 Poll... Rio Grande is next in line with 52... Since 2000, two teams have rattled through the entire season ranked No. 1 - Bethel in 2009 and Rio Grande during the 2004 campaign.
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL||2011 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (19)||23-0-0||529|
|3||6||Southern Poly (Ga.)||17-3-2||489|
|4||5||Rio Grande (Ohio)||19-3-0||479|
|5||4||William Carey (Miss.)||16-4-3||465|
|6||7||Grand View (Iowa)||18-3-2||439|
|7||8||Science & Arts (Okla.)||18-5-0||420|
|9||19||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||12-5-4||380|
|21||17||Great Falls (Mont.)||16-5-0||174|
|25||20||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||14-9-0||129|
Others receiving votes: Mount Mercy (Iowa) 100; Vanguard (Calif.) 83; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 52; Ashford (Iowa) 51; Texas at Brownsville 50; Menlo (Calif.) 38; The Master's (Calif.) 34; Thomas (Ga.) 24; Tennessee Wesleyan 20; Lubbock Christian (Texas) 15; Cumberlands (Ky.) 14; Robert Morris (Ill.) 7; McPherson (Kan.) 4; Oklahoma Baptist 3.
^ Indicates the 2011 postseason poll announced on Dec. 6