If you're a school not ranked No. 1 in the final Golf World/WGCA women's Division I, II or III coaches' poll, optimism might be a fleeting concept as the first half of the 2013-14 season has wrapped up. Given how entrenched USC, Lynn and Methodist appear to be in their respective polls heading into winter break, why bother with the spring campaign and lets simply hand out the NCAA trophies right now?
Of course I say this in jest. Talking to some coaches of teams chasing the No. 1s in each of the divisions, they appreciate the level dominance their opponents have shown in the fall. Yet at the same time the chasers believe they have played well enough that on any given week they could be victorious over all comers.
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for USC and what they've accomplished," said UCLA women's coach Carrie Forysth. "But I think we are confident that our team is capable of winning every tournament we enter. That hasn't changed this fall."
With that, here are the final fall polls. Read into them what you will as schools gets some rest before the spring season calls.
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A few tidbits from between the lines:
This is the 11th straight poll that USC has been ranked No. 1 dating back to October 2012. It's the longest streak any one school has had at No. 1.
It's also the 19th straight poll that the Trojans have been in the top five and the 63rd straight (dating back to November 2006) that they've been in the top 10.
South Carolina (No. 14) and Kentucky (No. 20) are ranked high than either school has previously been ranked since the return of the poll at the start of the 2001-02 season. The Lady Gamecocks previous best was 16th and the Lady Wildcats was 22nd.
Oregon (No. 17) returns to the top 25 for the first time since May 2012.
Wake Forest (No. 25) returns to the top 25 for the first time since October 2011.
Virginia fell out of the top 25, marking the first time it has been unranked since the start of the 2012-13 season.
Lynn University, the defending NCAA champion, remained No. 1 in the women's Division II coaches' poll. The Fighting Knights opened the 2013-14 season with a runner-up finish at the Lady Falcon Invitational then proceeded to win their final three tournaments: the Guy Harvey Invitational, Saint Leo Invitational and Rock Barn Intercollegiate. Their prowess helped them claim 21 of the 22 available first-place votes.
Methodist claimed all 20 first-place votes to be the unanimous No. 1 pick in the final Golf women's Division III coaches' poll of the fall. The Lady Monarchs won their first three starts, including the NCAA D-III Fall Preview, to close out the first half of the 2013-14 college campaign.