By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Defending national champion Belhaven (Miss.) remains atop the 2013 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 poll, the national office announced Tuesday. Belhaven’s unanimous selection—with all 19 first-place votes and 498 total points—gives the Blazers consecutive No. 1 rankings for the first time in school history.
Mobile (Ala.), the Southern States Athletic Conference foe whom Belhaven defeated 2-0 in the 2012 National Championship, accumulated 480 total points to earn the No. 2 ranking.
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), who compiled an NAIA-best 22-2 record a year ago, received 467 points en route to the No. 3 position. The Blue Raiders fell 1-0 to Belhaven in the 2012 National Championship semifinals.
No. 4 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) and No. 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) round out the top five with 449 and 434 points, respectively. Auburn Montgomery, No. 6 Concordia (Calif.) and No. 10 Science & Arts (Okla.) are the only teams, among all NAIA soccer programs, to return multiple NAIA All-Americans from last season.
No. 9 Rio Grande (Ohio) earns its 50th consecutive Top 10 ranking, dating back to the 2009 Preseason Top 25 poll. This is just the fourth time Rio Grande has been ranked outside of the top five in the preseason poll.
There were no changes among the top 16 positions from the 2012 Postseason Top 25, but there was some movement in the bottom third of the poll.
No. 20 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) made the largest jump, moving up five spots, while Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) fell eight spots, landing at No. 25. There were no newcomers to the Top 25.
The Southern States Athletic Conference claimed three of the top five positions in the preseason poll and leads all conferences/independents/unaffiliated groupings with five teams in the Top 25: Belhaven, Mobile, Auburn Montgomery, No. 8 Southern Poly (Ga.) and No. 22 Southern Wesleyan (S.C.).
The Heart of America Athletic Conference, with three, and the American Midwest Conference, Mid-South Conference, Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference and the unaffiliated grouping of Frontier/A.I.I./North Star, with two each, also placed multiple teams in the Preseason Top 25.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. For the entire 2013 Coaches' Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
The first regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced Sept. 10.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) This marks the first year, since 2010, that the previous season’s national champion, Belhaven, and runner-up, Mobile, are ranked No. 1 and 2 in the Preseason Top 25—this had previously occurred in 2000, 01, 02, 06, 07, 08, 09 and 10… Mobile remains the only defending national champion to not earn the No. 1 ranking in the Preseason Top 25; the Rams were ranked No. 2 in the 2003 Preseason Top 25 after winning the 2002 National Championship… Last year’s preseason No. 1, Lindsey Wilson, was No. 1 in eight polls throughout the season, ended the 2012 season at No. 3 and also opens the 2013 season at No. 3... Lindsey Wilson is the longest consecutively ranked active school at 71-straight polls, dating back to the 2007 Preseason Top 25 Poll… Rio Grande is next in line with 64 consecutive rankings, followed by Belhaven at 37 and Mobile at 36... Lindsey Wilson also boasts the most all-time No. 1 rankings with 44, followed by Rio Grande with 39, Bethel (Tenn.) with 11 and Auburn Montgomery with 9... Overall, 17 different teams have claimed the No. 1 spot in the poll… Fifteen of the 21 conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the Preseason Top 25... Since 2000, just two teams have spent the entire season ranked No. 1—Bethel in 2009 and Rio Grande in 2004.
2013 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 20)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Belhaven (Miss.) (19)||19-4-1||498|
|3||3||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||22-2||467|
|4||4||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||13-2-9||449|
|5||5||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||18-4-2||434|
|8||8||Southern Poly (Ga.)||15-6-1||382|
|9||9||Rio Grande (Ohio)||16-3-1||379|
|10||10||Science & Arts (Okla.)||14-1-4||362|
|20||25||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||13-4-3||171|
|21||22||Southern Wesleyan (S.C.)||15-3-2||161|
|22||23||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||13-3-2||154|
|24||24||St. Thomas (Fla.)||12-4-1||135|
|25||17||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||14-4-5||107|
Others Receiving Votes: Baker (Kan.) 52; Tennessee Wesleyan 47; Grand View (Iowa) 42; San Diego Christian (Calif.) 40; Indiana Wesleyan 29; Oklahoma City 27; Aquinas (Mich.) 23; Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 20; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 19; Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 14; Thomas (Ga.) 10; Lyon (Ark.) 8; Evergreen (Wash.) 8; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 6; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 5; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 5; McPherson (Kan.) 3
^ 2012 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches Postseason Top 25 Poll