Top 10 preview
No. 1 St. Thomas (Minn.) opens season against No. 8 Emory
St. Thomas (Minn.) returns nine of its top 11 players, including two All-Americans, from last season’s national champion squad and the Tommies take a 35-match winning streak into this fall.
The Tommies open their season against No. 8 Emory and No. 3 Wittenberg in the Aug. 30-31 Wittenberg tournament. Emory handed St. Thomas its lone defeat of 2012, a five-set decision in Atlanta in early September.
Calvin’s schedule kicks off with a bang as the Knights will travel to the west coast to face a slew of top-flight teams in a tournament hosted by Puget Sound which Calvin faced in the 2012 national quarterfinals.
On August 30, Calvin will face Wartburg and Pacific Lutheran and follow with matches against Puget Sound and UC-Santa Cruz on Aug. 31.
Pacific Lutheran was ranked 21st and Puget Sound ninth in last year’s final AVCA Division III Top 25 poll.
The Bluejays are scheduled to play 11 contests against teams that finished the 2012 season ranked among the top-25 in the nation, including matches against 2012 national semifinalists Christopher Newport, Calvin and a rematch against the Tommies.
Elmhurst will start the season against No. 12 Chicago and Lake Forest, both on Aug. 31.
The 2013 slate features nine other teams in the top-25, including No. 4 Elmhurst, No. 8 Emory, and No. 10 Cal Lutheran. Fellow Capital Athletic Conference foe Salisbury also earned national recognition, settling in at No. 22 in the preseason poll.
Christopher Newport begins play against Berry and Lynchburg on Aug. 30 and then faces Edgewood and SUNY New Platz on Aug. 31.
The Flying Dutch will play at home on 10 different dates during the regular season, beginning with the Sept. 3 MIAA opener against Alma College.
Before that, they will face Bluffton on Aug. 30 and Case Western on Aug. 31.
The Bears begin the 2013 season with eight consecutive home matches, including two against top-25 opponents. Washington-St. Louis squares off against Webster University in the season opener on Aug. 30.
The Eagles open the 2013 campaign the weekend of August 30-31 when they travel to Springfield, Ohio, to compete in the national invitational where two of their three opponents will be defending national champions St. Thomas (Minn.) along with No. 3-ranked and host Wittenberg.
All seven starters return from last year's team that advanced deep into the NCAA tournament and will undoubtedly be looking to make an even deeper run this year.
Puget Sound will begin the season against No. 15 Wartburg on Aug. 30 and against No. 2 Calvin on Aug. 31.