Freedom New Mexico
RICHARDSON, Texas — If Eastern New Mexico University’s football and volleyball teams have strong seasons in 2009, it will come as a surprise to most of those voting in the Lone Star Conference’s preseason polls.
ENMU, which hasn’t won a division game since 2006, was picked for seventh in the seven-team LSC South in football while the Zias, coming off consecutive winless LSC campaigns, were picked for last in the 14-team league.
Voting was done by LSC sports information directors and coaches, and selected media representatives.
Meantime, ENMU was picked for third in the four-team LSC men’ soccer race and ninth of 11 teams in women’s competition. In cross country, the men were tabbed for eighth place out of nine teams while the women were chosen ninth out of 11 enteries.
Football — Abilene Christian, which won its first league title last year since 1973, earned 135 points and 16 first-place votes to outdistance West Texas A&M (107, three) in the South. Midwestern State earned the remaining first-place vote, but the Mustangs were picked for fifth place overall.
Defending champion Central Oklahoma was the North favorite with 90 points and 12 of 16 first-place votes.
Volleyball — Three-time defending champion West Texas A&M earned all but seven of the 38 first-place votes, beating out Abilene Christian and Tarleton State.
The conference will play a single round-robin schedule for the second year in a row, with the top eight teams advancing to the conference tournament Nov. 12-14 at the home of the regular-season winner.
Men’s soccer — After five seasons as the Southwest Soccer Conference, Missouri Southern dropped its program after last year and the four remaining teams will fly under the LSC banner.
Defending champion Midwestern State, which reached the NCAA Division II quarterfinals last season with a 19-3 overall record, was a slight choice over West Texas A&M in the preseason poll. ENMU collected 16 points to nudge Northeastern State (15) for third place.
Women’s soccer — Two-time defending champion West Texas A&M edged Texas A&M-Commerce in the preseason poll, collecting 286 points and 14 of 28 first-place ballots.
Cross country — Abilene Christian, which has won 18 consecutive LSC men’s titles, was a unanimous chose to extend that streak, earning all 24 first-place votes and 216 points. ENMU collected 63 points, eight behind No. 7 West Texas A&M and 20 ahead of Texas A&M-Kingsville.
In the women’s poll, Midwestern State got 22 of 31 first-place votes en route to the top spot. The Mustangs are coming off their first LSC title.
LSC preseason polls
School (1st-pl. votes)