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Preseason polls are just like opinions. Everyone has one and most of them you can put little stock in. That would be the feeling of the St. Catharine coaches who are leading the Patriots into fall sports seasons.
Released last week by the Mid-South Conference, the preseason polls have each Patriot fall sport near the bottom of the rankings. The highest-ranked team among the St. Catharine fall sports is the Patriot volleyball team that was picked to finish eighth among the 11 conference teams. Both men and women cross country teams were picked 10th and the Patriot soccer teams were each picked ninth among the 10 conference schools that have soccer programs.
But while the polls are not kind to the Patriot programs, they do provide something positive as St. Catharine women’s soccer coach Paul Patton explained.
“The poll will help motivate our players,” said Patton, whose team was ahead of conference newcomer Bluefield College. “Last year we finished sixth and I feel we will be stronger this year.”
Lindsey Wilson, who has won or shared the MSC title for the last 12 seasons, was picked to repeat in women’s soccer. Georgetown College was picked second and Cumberland University (Tenn.), another new member of the conference, was ranked third.
The Lindsey Wilson men, who were national champions last year with a 23-0 record, were ranked first in the preseason, followed by Rio Grande and the University of the Cumberlands.
Perennial power Shawnee State was picked to win both men’s and women’s cross country. Cumberlands was the second choice in the men’s poll, followed by Georgetown. Those three squads also topped the women’s cross country poll.
“Of course everyone knows what a good program Shawnee State has,” said Patriot cross country coach Blake Jones, who is a graduate of that program. “But beyond the first two or three teams it is hard to rank them. Nobody knows what recruits each school has and we have two new schools that we know very little about.”
In the volleyball poll, Lindsey Wilson was picked first, followed by Campbellsville and Georgetown. The Patriots’ eighth spot put them ahead of UVA-Wise, Bluefield and Pikeville.