Linfield received seven of eight first place votes to take the No. 1 spot in the preseason NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll, the association has announced. Linfield finished 42-7 and as national champion runner-up a year ago, falling to preseason No. 10 East Texas Baptist in the final.
Eastern Connecticut begins 2011 in the No. 2 spot after going 39-6-1 a year ago and finishing third in the country. Louisiana College, a program heading into 2011 under a new head coach, begins at No. 3 after a 44-8 season a year ago. No. 4 DePauw, which tied for fifth at the national championship last year, looks to find a way to replace three-time all-American pitcher Megan Soultz. Another national championship participant, Luther, is in a similar position and begins the season at No. 5 after finishing 42-8 in 2010.
2009 national champion Messiah begins this season at No. 6, while Moravian and Ithaca follow at Nos. 7 and 8 after finishing in a tie for seventh at the national championship. Fourth-place national finisher Christopher Newport is at No. 9, while defending national champion ETBU rounds out the top 10.
To view the entire poll, click here.