St. Louis, Mo., September 3, 2013 – The Washington University in St. Louis women's golf team is ranked No. 3 in the Golf World/National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) Division III Preseason Top-25 Poll, as announced Tuesday by the magazine.
Defending NCAA champion University of Mary Hardin-Baylor starts its title defense as the No. 1 ranked team in NCAA Division III. The Crusaders earned 16 of 21 first-place votes and garnered the No. 1 ranking in the preseason poll for the first time.
Methodist University starts the season ranked No. 2 after having its 13-year run as national champion come to an end in 2013. The Lady Monarchs earned three first-place votes after finishing third at nationals last May. Washington University (No. 3), the University of Texas-Tyler (No. 4) and George Fox University (No. 5) rounded out the top five.
Sixth-year head coach Sean Curtis returns seven letterwinners from a year ago and added three newcomers to the roster. The Bears placed sixth at the 2013 NCAA Division III Championship, their highest finish in school history. Washington U. was ranked No. 4 in the final Golf World/NGCA women's coaches' poll, and placed in the top-five in nine of 10 tournaments in which it competed.
Junior Olivia Lugar and sophomore Connie Zhou earned Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Division III All-America honors a year ago. Lugar, a first-team honoree, was second in the Central Region and sixth in NCAA Division III in scoring (77.91). Zhou, a second-team selection, was the second-ranked freshman in NCAA Division III a year ago with a 78.45 average.
Senior Andrea Hibbert earned WGCA first-team all-Central Region honors for the third-straight season after finishing the season ranked 27th in NCAA Division III in scoring (79.82). The Bears also return senior Allyson Chee, junior Mackenzie Findlay, sophomore Erin Lawrence and graduate student Melanie Walsh.
Washington University opened the 2013-14 season by winning the Olivet College Labor Day Tee-Off Saturday-Sunday in Marshall, Mich. The Bears had six of their nine golfers finish in the top-10 in the individual standings.