By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo – Defending national champion Concordia (Ore.) opens the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the 2014 NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the National Office announced Tuesday. The Cavaliers, who are riding the momentum from their first NAIA women's soccer title last December, received 18 first-place votes and 529 points.
The No. 1 ranking for Concordia marks the seventh-straight poll the Cavaliers have found themselves atop the rankings, dating back to Oct. 22, 2013. It is the first time since 1999 that the school has started the season in the No. 1 position, as Concordia has begun the year ranked second on two occasions, most recently in 2012. The Cavaliers, led by returning senior defenseman and 2013 Select Sport America-NAIA Championship Most Valuable Player Jasmin Ayala, turn their attention to a 15th-consecutive Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) championship and 14-straight trips to the national championship.
Westmont (Calif.) – 2013 national runner-up – claims the No. 2 position. This marks the Warriors’ first time in school history they begin a season ranked second in the country, dating back to 1999. Westmont was the only other school to receive a first place vote (1), and racked up 511 total votes. NAIA Championship Outstanding Defensive Player Sophie Fuller returns for Westmont as the team opens its season Tuesday, Aug. 19, against NCCAA member Trinity Western (B.C.).
No. 3 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), No. 4 Northwood (Fla.) and No. 5 Concordia (Calif.) each claim the same spots from their 2013 postseason rankings in the top five, respectively.
The poll held mostly steady heading into 2014, as only two schools jumped up in the rankings since the end of last year – No. 9 William Carey (Miss.) jumped up one spot from its 2013 postseason ranking, and 14th-ranked Spring Arbor (Mich.) moved up from No. 15.
Fourteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Preseason Top 25, led by four from the Golden State Athletic Conference – No. 2 Westmont, No. 5 Concordia (Calif.), No. 12 Vanguard (Calif.), and No. 18 The Master's (Calif.). The CCAC, SSAC and TSC 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. 23.
For the complete women’s soccer ratings calendar, click here.
Notes: (All information dates back to 1999) Concordia (Ore.) receives its seventh-straight and 23rd overall No. 1 ranking this week – third on the NAIA's all-time list… Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 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 Concordia … Lindsey Wilson boasts the most top spot rankings at 47, followed by former NAIA member Azusa Pacific (Calif.) with 33. … Concordia owns the second longest active streak at 143-straight polls … Three teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2013: Lindsey Wilson, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and Concordia … Concordia, Lindsey Wilson and Northwood were ranked in the top 10 in every poll last season … A total of 40 programs were ranked in 2013 … No. 2 Westmont begins a season ranked second in the country for the first time in school history after finishing runner-up at the 2013 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.
2014 NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 19)
|RANK||LAST^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Concordia (Ore.) (18)||22-1-1||529|
|2||2||Westmont (Calif.) (1)||17-2-5||511|
|3||3||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||21-4-0||496|
|9||10||William Carey (Miss.)||18-5-0||384|
|10||8||Robert Morris (Ill.)||15-5-1||375|
|11||11||St. Thomas (Fla.)||17-2-1||350|
|13||13||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||16-6-1||325|
|14||15||Spring Arbor (Mich.)||18-3-1||309|
|15||14||Cal State San Marcos||12-6-1||305|
|16||16||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||17-4-2||275|
|18||18||The Master's (Calif.)||15-6-0||236|
|19||19||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||16-3-1||202|
|21||21||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||14-5-1||190|
|22||22||John Brown (Ark.)||14-4-3||174|
|25||25||Trinity International (Ill.)||13-6-3||123|
Others Receiving Votes: Westminster (Utah) 56; Oklahoma City 55; Northwestern Ohio 50; Georgia Gwinnett 35; Mobile (Ala.) 33; Grace (Ind.) 26; Columbia (Mo.) 24;Texas at Brownsville 22; Missouri Valley 19; Viterbo (Wis.) 6; Ottawa (Kan.) 6; Trinity Christian (Ill.) 4; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 3; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 3.
^ 2013 NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches Postseason Top 25 Poll (Dec. 11, 2013)