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KWU Women’s Soccer Picked No. 11 in National Top 25

KSAL Sports - August 21, 2013 7:48 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released its 2013 NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll and the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes are ranked No. 11 heading into the season.
Wesleyan was ranked No.11 in the final poll of the 2012 season, when the Coyotes went 20-2 overall and reached the Final Site of the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championships.

The Coyotes are under the direction of new coach Blake Reynolds, in his first season at KWU after spending the past four seasons at Midland University (Neb.). Plenty of firepower returns for the Coyotes, as defending KCAC Offensive Player of the Year Melissa Martinez is back, along with KCAC Freshman of the Year Roxy Gomez.

Wesleyan opens the season on August 31 at Bethel (Tenn.) in McKenzie, Tennessee.

Defending national champion Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) opens the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the 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.