KWU Women’s Soccer Ranked No. 21 in NAIA Preseason Poll

Kansas Wesleyan Women’s Soccer is ranked No. 21 in the NAIA Women’s Soccer Top 25 Coaches Preseason Poll released on Wednesday by the NAIA National Office.

The Coyotes are coming off a KCAC Championship season in 2018, winning both the regular season and tournament titles with a 17-3-2 overall record and an 11-0-1 mark in the KCAC. Wesleyan was picked earlier this month to repeat as conference champions.

Wesleyan will be under the direction of new head coach Henrik Sohn, who previously served as an assistant under former coach Kat Benton before Benton’s departure to Kansas State to join former Coyote coach Mike Dibbini on the Wildcat sidelines.

The Coyotes will open the season on August 31 in California against The Master’s, who is receiving votes in the poll. KWU also faces No. 25 Westmont (Calif.) on September 2, MidAmerica Nazarene, who is receiving votes on September 7, and No. 19 Science and Arts (Okla.) on September 17.

A pair of conference foes in Oklahoma Wesleyan and Ottawa are both receiving votes in the poll.

After earning its first red banner in December of 2018, William Carey (Miss.) will enter the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in the preseason edition of the Top 25. The Crusaders put on a solid defensive effort in the 2018 NAIA National Championship as the team from Hattiesburg, Miss. recorded three shutouts in four matches at the final site in Orange Beach, Ala.

Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 1999)

William Carey finished with 17 of the 18 first-place votes as it will look to defend its title beginning on August 21 with a tilt against LSU Alexandria (La.) at home.

The Crusaders will return one of the top players in the nation in 2018 in midfielder Ana Paula Santos. The junior recorded 21 goals in 19 games a season ago and was named an NAIA First-Team All-America selection in addition to national championship most valuable player.

Keiser (Fla.) retained its spot at No. 2 after dropping a close 1-0 match in the 2018 championship. Matilda Ovenberger will return for her sophomore campaign after taking-home First-Team All-America honors in just her freshman season. The native of Sodra Sanby, Sweden netted 32 goals a season ago which ranked her sixth in the nation in that category. She was also named the national championship outstanding offensive player.

Southeastern (Fla.) will begin the season ranked third in the nation and have the nation’s top goal scorer back in the mix. Uchenna Kanu is coming off a summer in which the senior played for her native Nigeria in the World Cup and earned a start against Germany. Kanu recorded an NAIA-record 57 goals a season ago.

Spring Arbor (Mich.) and Benedictine rounded-out the Top 5 in the poll.

The Cougars will be without one of the top offensive threats in NAIA history in Bethany Balcer in 2019. The former two-time national player of the year is currently tied for the lead in goals for Reign FC with three on the season.

Spring Arbor continues to hold the longest active Top 25 Poll streak, moving to 97 consecutive appearances in the poll. Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) holds the national record since 1999 with 203 consecutive appearances, which was stopped on Oct. 24, 2017. Keiser (Fla.) is right behind Spring Arbor at No. 9, extending its streak to 95 weeks.

Lindsey Wilson own the most No. 1 rankings since 1999 with 58, followed by former member Azusa Pacific (Calif.) with 32. Spring Arbor is in third with 23 followed closely by Westmont (Calif.) and former member Concordia (Ore.) with 19 apiece.

Poll Methodology

The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, Association of Independent Institutions and Unaffiliated Groups.

The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second-place and so on through the list.

The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low ratings) is removed and the team’s ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appears on.

Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered “receiving votes.”

11William Carey (Miss.) [17]21-3498
22Keiser (Fla.)20-3-2482
3T3Southeastern (Fla.)20-2-2460
4T3Spring Arbor (Mich.) [1]20-2-1456
55Benedictine (Kan.)20-2-2432
66Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)13-4-2414
77Martin Methodist (Tenn.)19-1-2401
88Georgia Gwinnett17-4379
99Midland (Neb.)14-3-4363
1010Embry-Riddle (Ariz.)18-3360
1112Vanguard (Calif.)14-3332
1211Hastings (Neb.)17-1-3324
1313John Brown (Ark.)16-5-1297
1414Eastern Oregon16-3-2275
1516Grace (Ind.)20-4-1250
1618University of Northwestern Ohio13-5-3229
1717Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)16-4219
1819Cumberland (Tenn.)16-3-1212
1923Science & Arts (Okla.)16-5-1210
2015Northwest (Wash.)13-9-2196
2121Kansas Wesleyan17-3-2185
2220Trinity Christian (Ill.)21-2-2159
2322Mobile (Ala.)12-8140
2425Hope International (Calif.)13-6-2116
2524Westmont (Calif.)13-2-3109