TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama women’s golf team will open the 2012-13 season the same place they finished last season, ranked No. 1 in the Golf World/NGCA Division I College Women’s Coaches’ Poll.

NGCAAA POLL
Check out the full rankings

It is the first time the Crimson Tide has been tabbed No. 1 in the preseason rankings. The UA men were also voted No. 1 in the preseason, marking just the second time since the polls began for the 2001-02 season. Alabama earned 19 of the 27 first-place votes with UCLA in second place with six first-place votes.

“Winning the national championship last year will not change how we approach this season,” Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. “If anything, it serves to validate the ideas that we have relied on in the past. Our goal is winning championships, and our philosophy is to prepare every day to be successful. It is an honor to be the preseason No. 1, but our focus right now is the first tournament of this season.”

Alabama returns four starters from last year’s team that captured the school’s first national championship. Senior Jennifer Kirby, junior Stephanie Meadow and sophomore Hannah Collier anchor the team, while sophomore Johanna Tillström and senior Courtney McKim also boast starting experience.

Southern California is third in the preseason poll with Arizona State fourth, Duke fifth and North Carolina rounding out the top six. The next five all hail from the Southeastern Conference with Auburn (seventh), Vanderbilt (eighth), Florida (ninth), LSU (10th) and Georgia (11th). The SEC has a total of 10 teams in the top 25 with Tennessee (13th), Texas A&M (15th), South Carolina (17th) and Arkansas (18th).