__By Ryan Herrington
Defending NCAA champion USC starts its title defense as the No. 1 ranked team in the Golf World/WGCA 2013-14 preseason women's Division I coaches' poll. The Trojans claimed the school's third women's golf championship when they won by a dominating 21-strokes at the University of Georgia GC last May.
All five starters return to Los Angeles, including last year's national player of the year Annie Park. Additionally, USC brings in the U.S. Girls' Junior champion__Gabriella Then__ and five-time AJGA All-American Karen Chung as to challenge for starting spots as freshmen. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the Trojans claimed 26 of the 29 available first-place votes.
No. 2 in the poll is Alabama, the 2012 NCAA champs who bring back senior Stephanie Meadow, Golf World's No. 1 player to watch for the season, and sophomore__Emma Talley__, the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion.
Duke claimed the No. 3 spot, having finished runner-up to USC at nationals last May. Rounding out the top five are UCLA and Arizona State, both of whom picked up first-place votes (the Bruins getting 1, the Sun Devils getting 2).
A few interesting stats for the preseason D-I poll:
Four of the top 25 teams are ranked the highest they have ever been in the preseason poll since Golf World resumed them at the start of the 2001-02 season—Oklahoma at No. 6; Arkansas at No. 8; N.C. State at No. 20 and UC Davis at No. 25.
This is the first time UC Davis has been in the top 25 in any of our preseason polls.
Six schools have been in the preseason top 25 all 13 years: Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Georgia, UCLA and USC.
Seven different conferences had teams in the top 25, led by six from the Pac-12 and the SEC.
Defending NCAA champion Lynn goes for its title defense as the No. 1 ranked team in the Golf World/WGCA 2013-14 preseason women's Division II coaches' poll. The Fighting Knights won five tournaments a year ago, including a three-stroke triumph at nationals, helping them earn 16 of the 26 available first-place votes.
No. 2 in the poll is Nova Southeastern, which saw its streak of four straight NCAA titles end last May after finishing second at nationals. The Sharks earned seven first-place votes.
Rollins claimed the No. 3 spot, earning a single first-place vote. Rounding out the top five are Barry (also the recipient of a first-place vote) and Florida Southern.
The last remaining first-place vote went to No. 12 Indianapolis.
Defending NCAA champion Mary Hardin-Baylor starts its title defense as the No. 1 ranked team in the Golf World/WGCA 2013-14 preseason women's Division III coaches' poll. The Crusaders ended a 13-year run by Methodist as the D-III winners when they claimed victory at Sandestin (Fla.) CC. Memories of the upset helped the school earn 16 of the 21 available first-place votes and earn the top-ranking in the preseason poll for the first time.
No. 2 in the poll is Methodist. The Lady Monarchs earned three first-place votes after finishing third at nationals last May.
Washington University in St. Louis claimed the No. 3 spot. Rounding out the top five are Texas-Tyler (which earned one first-place vote) and George Fox. No. 12. Birmingham Southern also claimed one first-place vote.