By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Cal State San Marcos becomes the seventh different team since 2000 to be ranked No. 1 in the 2013 NAIA Softball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. The Cougars, who finished 55-6 and made it to the semifinal round of the 2012 NAIA Softball National Championship, land on top of the poll for the second time in school history. With 13 first-place votes and 520 total points, Cal State San Marcos landed its first-ever No. 1 position in the March 20, 2012 edition.
Vaulting up seven spots from the 2012 Postseason Top 25, No. 2 Lubbock Christian (Texas) gathered 498 points and two first-place votes. The Chaps ended last year with a 56-8 record and a spot in national championship pool play action. Senior pitcher Sarah Mendez returns after a campaign in which she earned 2012 First Team All-America honors. She went 22-1 with a 1.20 ERA and ranked fifth in the NAIA in opponent batting average (0.145)
National semifinalist, Brenau (Ga.), collected two first-place nods and 496 total points to hold down the third position. The Tigers are working off a season in which they finished 44-16 overall. No. 4 Oklahoma City checks in with 473 total points. The Stars, who have been ranked in the top five in each of the last 11 polls, made it to the national championship final before bowing out to former NAIA member Shorter (Ga.).
No. 5 Concordia (Calif.) pulled in the remaining two first-place votes to go along with 467 total points. The Eagles, who locked down the No. 1 spot for six-consecutive weeks last year, did not advance out of pool play in the 2012 national championship.
The biggest mover up in the poll was Lubbock Christian with the seven-spot jump. Right behind the Chaps for the best improvement was No. 16 St. Gregory's (Okla.). The Cavaliers went up six spots after they compiled a 43-17 record last year.
The newcomers in the poll are: No. 14 Williams Baptist (Ark.), No. 21 South Carolina Beaufort, No. 22 William Penn (Iowa), No. 24 Indiana Wesleyan and No. 25 Saint Xavier (Ill.). The highlight of this group is South Carolina Beaufort as the Sand Sharks are ranked for the first time in their two-year history.
Sixteen of 21 conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference landed five within the Top 25: Brenau, No. 7 William Carey (Miss.), No. 8 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), No. 11 Lee (Tenn.) and No. 19 Mobile (Ala.). The Sooner Athletic Conference claims three ranked teams, while three other leagues boast a pair of programs.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences /independent /unaffiliated groupings. The first regular-season Top 25 will be announced on March 19, 2013.
For the complete calendar of 2013 Top 25 Polls, click here.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) With its first preseason No. 1 ranking in history, Cal State San Marcos is looking to become the first team to be on top of the preseason charts and win the national championship in the same season since Oklahoma City did so in 2002...According to available records, No. 24 Indiana Wesleyan is in the Top 25 for the first time in history... Before this poll, No. 14 Williams Baptist (Ark.) was last ranked in the 2012 Postseason Top 25; No. 22 William Penn (Iowa) was last ranked on Feb. 2, 2010; No. 25 Saint Xavier (Ill.) was last ranked on May 10, 2011... There were 38 different teams ranked in 10 polls last year... Last year, there were five programs to hold the No. 1 ranking: Cal State San Marcos, Concordia (Calif.), Lubbock Christian (Texas), Oregon Tech and former member Shorter (Ga.)... Since 2000, there have been 11 teams to be on top of the polls: Concordia, Cal State San Marcos, former NAIA member California Baptist, Lubbock Christian, Mobile (Ala.), Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma City, Oregon Tech, former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.), Shorter and Thomas (Ga.)... Former member California Baptist leads the way with 46 all-time No. 1 appearances, followed by Oklahoma City with 20, Simon Fraser with 18, Thomas with 13, Concordia with six , Mobile with five and Lubbock Christian with four... No. 4 Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 82-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch; Lubbock Christian and No. 7 William Carey (Miss.) are tied for third with 45-consecutive mentions, No. 10 Houston-Victoria (Texas) follows with40-straight and Concordia is at 36-straight polls.
2013 NAIA Softball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll (Nov. 13, 2012)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||3||Cal State San Marcos (13)||55-6||520|
|2||9||Lubbock Christian (Texas) (2)||56-8||498|
|3||4||Brenau (Ga.) (2)||44-16||496|
|5||6||Concordia (Calif.) (2)||56-4||467|
|6||5||Central Baptist (Ark.)||53-8||448|
|7||8||William Carey (Miss.)||50-11||433|
|8||7||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||42-20||404|
|12||14||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||54-9||324|
|14||NR||Williams Baptist (Ark.)||51-10||302|
|15||20||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||47-13||287|
|16||22||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||43-17||257|
|18||19||Central Methodist (Mo.)||41-14||226|
|21||RV||South Carolina Beaufort||37-11||156|
|22||RV||William Penn (Iowa)||47-18||152|
|25||RV||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||37-16||96|
Others receiving votes: Concordia (Ore.) 94; Madonna (Mich.) 66; Bellevue (Neb.) 61; Park (Mo.) 57; Vanguard (Calif.) 43; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 43; Campbellsville (Ky.) 36; College of Idaho 27; Tennessee Wesleyan 15; Dickinson State (N.D.) 11; Marian (Ind.) 10; St. Thomas (Fla.) 8; Davenport (Mich.) 6; Texas Wesleyan 6; William Woods (Mo.) 4; Columbia (Mo.) 3; Webber International (Fla.) 3; Georgetown (Ky.) 3.
^ Indicated in the 2012 Coaches' Postseason Top 25 on May 29, 2012