ATLANTA – After advancing to the MCLA Division II national semifinals for the 13th straight time last spring, St. Thomas has been tabbed the favorite to win its seventh title in 2023, according to the New Balance Preseason Division II Coaches Poll.
The Tommies (15-4) lost to the eventual D-II champion Utah in the semifinals of the 2022 MCLA National Championships presented by New Balance, but with the Utes matriculating to MCLA Division I this spring, St. Thomas gets the nod.
Rhode Island (12-3) actually recorded more first-place votes in the poll – 15 to 11 – but were edged out in total points by four. The Rams fell to Utah, 13-7, in the finals in URI’s first-ever visit to nationals.
Sitting in the third spot 63 points behind Rhode Island is Montana (16-6), which also advanced to the national semifinals before falling to the Rams, 15-7.
Grand Valley State (10-4), which was the runner-up in the powerful UMLC behind St. Thomas, checks in at No. 4 in the preseason poll. The Lakers have qualified for nationals 11-straight times, including last year when they bowed to the Utes in the quarterfinals.
Missouri State (11-7) rounds out the top five in the poll.
The UMLC had six representatives in the Top 25, easily leading the field. Five conferences – ALC, PNCLL, SELC, SLC and the RMLC – were all tied for second most honorees with three apiece.
The CLC had a pair of reps while the WCLL and LSA had one each.
2023 New Balance Preseason Division II Coaches Poll
|4.||Grand Valley State||571|
|6.||College of Idaho||488|
|11.||Florida Gulf Coast||372|
|12.||Cal State San Marcos||370|
|13.||North Dakota State||368|
|15.||UC San Diego||294|
Also receiving votes: Denver (49), Miami (43), Loyola Marymount (23), MSU Denver (16), Tulane (15), Maine (12), San Diego (11), Drury (9), Claremont (4), Baylor (4), Charleston (3), Washington-Mo. (3), Chico State (3), UMass-Dartmouth (3), Saint Mary’s (3), Texas A&M D-II (2), UNC-Wilmington (2), Long Beach State (1), Rice (1).