WAUKESHA, Wis.- Stacey Brunner-Jones' Concordia Wisconsin Falcons were picked to top the North Division, while the Wisconsin Lutheran Warriors were picked to top the South Division, according to the 2012-13 Northern Athletics Conference preseason poll as voted on by the league's head coaches.
The Falcons tallied 10 of 13 first-place votes for 87 points, ahead of runner-up Lakeland, which received the remaining three top selections for 74 points total. Edgewood (62) was third, followed by Marian (49), Maranatha (43), MSOE (30) and Alverno (18) to round out the North.
The Warriors garnered all 13 first-place votes for 78 points. Benedictine (55) was just two points ahead of two-time reigning South champions, Dominican (53), for second place. Concordia Chicago (43), Rockford (22) and Aurora (20) rounded out the poll in the South.
Last season, Concordia Wisconsin (16-11 overall) finished tied for second in the North with Lakeland (18-8 overall), both with 13-5 NAC records. The Falcons won the North for two-straight seasons ('08-09 and '09-10), prior to Wisconsin Lutheran's rotation to the division in '10-11 and '11-12.
The Falcons also own the NAC's first two conference championships ('06-07 and '07-08), preceding the current divisional format.
Wisconsin Lutheran won the last two North titles, and has four-straight division titles with the top spot in the South in '08-09 and '09-10. The Warriors (24-5 overall) finished last season at 17-1 in NAC play -- their lone league loss coming at the hands of Lakeland. As members of the North last season, Wisconsin Lutheran defeated the five returning South Division foes by an average of 25.8 points in league play.
The league's eight- team conference tournament will take place Feb. 16-23, with the tournament champion receiving the NAC's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA III Championship Tournament. The top four teams from each division qualify for the conference tournament.
2012-13 Northern Athletics Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Concordia Wisconsin (10), 87
2. Lakeland (3), 74
3. Edgewood, 62
4. Marian, 49
5. Maranatha, 43
6. MSOE, 30
7. Alverno, 18
1. Wisconsin Lutheran (13), 78
2. Benedictine, 55
3. Dominican, 53
4. Concordia Chicago, 43
5. Rockford, 22
6. Aurora, 20
first-place votes in parentheses
voted by the conference's head coaches
7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale used for North, 6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale used for South