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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NAIA Women's Golf Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll was announced Friday with the Lady Bulldogs receiving votes.
SCAD Savannah (Ga.) sits atop . The Bees accumulated 14 first-place votes and 465 points to earn the No. 1 ranking. This week's ranking is the Bees fourth No. 1, the third-most all-time behind Oklahoma City (42) and British Columbia (13). SCAD Savannah earns the position after a strong fall season during which the team went undefeated, led the NAIA in adjusted scoring average (76.12) and ranked second in strength of schedule. The team returns two 2013 NAIA First Team All-Americans in Alazne Urizar and Sofia Molinaro, who currently rank as the top two players in the NAIA, as well as an All-America honorable mention in Alexa Osbourn.
British Columbia compiled 440 points, including one first-place vote, en route to the No. 2 ranking. The Thunderbirds, who had five golfers named First or Second Team All-Americans in 2013 after a runner-up finish at the National Championships, had a successful fall season. Led by returning All-Americans Casara Hong (2013) and Stephanie Wong (2012, 2013), the Thunderbirds ranked third nationally in adjusted scoring average (76.95) and strength of schedule.
Defending national champion Oklahoma City accrued two first-place votes and 427 total points, to earn the No. 3 position. The Stars, who had two First Team All-Americans and three All-America honorable mentions last season, return just one of their top five golfers from last year's national championship squad—First Team All-American Elia Folch. Folch, who finished second to teammate Jessica Schiele at the National Championships, is the NAIA's top returning golfer from 2013. This fall, the Stars ranked just seventh nationally in adjusted scoring average (77.83), but played the most difficult schedule of any NAIA program.
No. 4 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 5 William Woods (Mo.) round out the top five with 424 and 406 points, respectively. The Patriots, led by First-Team All-American Liz Stephens, currently rank second in the NAIA in adjusted scoring average (76.22) and seventh in strength of schedule. The Owls, who had five golfers named First or Second Team All-Americans in 2013, are led by returning All-Americans Jamie Palermo (2011, 2012, 2013), Myriam Hassan (2013), Alejandra Ferrer (2013) and Jodie Peacock (2013). William Woods ranks fourth nationally in adjusted scoring average (77.09) and tenth in strength of schedule.
Within the poll, No. 8 Coastal Georgia made the largest jump, moving up 11 spots, while former No. 3 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) fell 13 positions, landing at No. 16. The Mariners crack the top ten after ranking eighth in adjusted scoring average (78.96) and strength of schedule this fall. Embry-Riddle, which returns Second Team All-American Sophie Olley, did not rank among the top 10 in the NAIA in either category.
No. 10 Rocky Mountain (Mont.), No. 13 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), No. 18 Texas Wesleyan, No. 20 Indiana Tech, No. 21 (tie) Houston-Victoria (Texas), No. 21 (tie) William Penn (Iowa) and No. 25 Mount Mercy (Iowa) were the newcomers to the Top 25. Rocky Mountain, Lewis-Clark State and William Penn were all ranked in multiple polls last season. This is the first Top 25 nod for Mount Mercy since May 13, 2004, when the Mustangs were No. 23, and the first Top 25 ranking for Texas Wesleyan, Indiana Tech and Houston-Victoria, dating back to 2000.
Wayland Baptist (Texas), Grand View (Iowa), Cumberland (Tenn.), Madonna (Mich.) and Oklahoma Baptist, fell out of the Top 25.
The Association of Independent Institutions—British Columbia, No. 6 Cal State San Marcos, No. 11 Victoria (B.C.) and No. 21 Houston-Victoria (Texas)—and The Sun Conference—SCAD Savannah, No. 7 Northwood (Fla.), No. 14 USC Beaufort (S.C.) and Embry-Riddle—lead all conferences, independents and unaffiliated groupings with four teams among the 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 2013-14 Coaches' Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) Ten different programs have been ranked No. 1 all-time… Oklahoma City leads the NAIA with 42 all-time No. 1 rankings, followed by British Columbia with 13 and SCAD Savannah (Ga.) with four… Two programs have held the No. 1 ranking for an entire season: British Columbia (2001) and Oklahoma City (2003, 04, 07, 08)… SCAD Savannah has been ranked in 53-straight polls since returning to the NAIA in 2003… Oklahoma City has been ranked among the top five in 29-straight polls, including 15 No. 1 rankings, dating back to Feb. 27, 2009…Former-member Mary-Hardin Baylor (Texas) (2000), British Columbia (2001), Oklahoma City (2007, 08) and former-member California Baptist (2011) are the only Preseason No. 1 teams to go on to win the National Championships during the same season.
2013-14 NAIA Women's Golf Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll (Nov. 8)
SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)
SCAD Savannah (Ga.) (14)
British Columbia (1)
Oklahoma City (2)
William Woods (Mo.)
Cal State San Marcos
Rocky Mountain (Mont.)
Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
USC Beaufort (S.C.)
SCAD Atlanta (Ga.)
William Penn (Iowa)
Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
Mount Mercy (Iowa)
Others Receiving Votes: Madonna (Mich.) 118; Milligan (Tenn.) 104; St. Andrews (N.C.) 52, Campbellsville (Ky.) 24; William Carey (Miss.) 22; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 21; Tennessee Wesleyan 21; Grand View (Iowa) 16; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 8; College of Idaho 8; Marian (Ind.) 7; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 3; Webber International (Fla.) 3.