LSC POLLS: Hounds picked to repeat in cross country

SAN ANTONIO — As usual, Eastern New Mexico University teams didn't fare all that well in Lone Star Conference preseason polls, released on Tuesday at the league's media day.

The exception was men's cross country, where the defending LSC champion Greyhounds were a solid pick to repeat their first league title.

Even the men's soccer team, which also claimed its first conference crown last season, was relegated to last place in the four-team league's preseason prognostications by coaches, sports information directors and various media members.

ENMU's football team was tabbed for eighth place (out of nine teams), the volleyball team was picked for last in a nine-team circuit and women's soccer and women's cross country were slotted for fifth place out of eight and nine teams, respectively.

Here's a look at the polls:

Football — Defending champion Midwestern State earned 19 of 25 first-place votes and compiled 215 points to 187 for Abilene Christian, which had five first-place ballots. Texas A&M-Kingsville, fourth behind West Texas A&M, earned the remaining first-place nod.

ENMU, which went 2-9 last season (1-7 LSC), opens on Sept. 1 at New Mexico Highlands. The Hounds, under first-year coach Josh Lynn, earned 43 points in the poll to edge out Texas A&M-Commerce (39).

The schedule begins Aug. 30. Each team will play a round-robin league schedule.

Volleyball — West Texas A&M enters the 2012 season favored to win its seventh consecutive LSC title, and 17th overall. The Lady Buffs earned 21 of 27 first-place votes and had 291 points to outlast Angelo State (269 points, five first-place votes).

Texas Woman's, fifth in the poll, received the other first-place tally. The Zias (6-24, 1-19 LSC), led by veteran coach Mike Maguire, managed just 30 points in the poll.

The schedule starts in late August, with teams playing a double-round-robin league slate.

Men's soccer — ENMU (8-4-5, 3-1-2 LSC in 2011), led by fifth-year coach Harold Munoz, received only 16 points in the poll. Midwestern State earned the No. 1 spot with 35 points and seven of 10 first-place votes, followed by Incarnate Word with 29 and three, respectively.

The schedule begins in late August, and the teams will play a double-round-robin conference slate.

Women's soccer — Abilene Christian, which rolled through LSC play 13-0-1 in 2011, captured 15 of 19 first-place votes and finished with 148 points to 134 for Midwestern State, which had three first-place ballots. Texas A&M-Commerce was third with 101 points and had the final first-place tally.

Coach Todd Padgett led the Zias (8-8-3, 6-5-3 LSC) to a program-best third-place finish in the league last season, and ENMU's second LSC tournament berth.

The first matches for LSC teams are scheduled for Aug. 30. The teams will play a double-round-robin conference schedule, with the top six advancing to the league tourney at the home of the regular-season champion during the first week of November.

Cross country — After winning league and regional titles last fall, ENMU's men received 18 of 20 first-place votes and tallied with 178 points in the poll. The Hounds ended a 20-year LSC title run by Abilene Christian, which finished second in the preseason poll with 131 points and the other two first-place votes.

Four-time defending champion Midwestern State swept all 21 first-place votes and finished with 189 points in the women's poll to 146 points for West Texas A&M.

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