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The Lakeland College softball team was selected to finish fourth in the 2007 Northern Athletics Conference pre-season coaches poll released Thursday, Feb. 22.
Aurora University received seven first place votes to earn the role of preseason favorite, while Edgewood College took the remaining five first place votes and is picked second. Concordia University, Wis., edged the Muskies for third place in the poll while Benedictine University claimed the No. 5 spot.
The Spartans (38-11) claimed the 2006 regular season and tournament championships in the former Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference. Aurora received a bid to the 2006 NCAA Division III Championship, finishing 2-2 at the Rock Island Regional where they lost to eventual regional champion Coe College.
Edgewood is coming off back-to-back 30-win seasons and conference championships in the former Lake Michigan Conference. The Eagles (30-13) were ranked No. 7 in the final Great Lakes regional poll of 2006, two spots behind No. 5 Aurora.
Concordia, Wis., also won a spot in the 2006 NCAA Division III Championship after winning the LMC tournament. The Falcons (21-23) won four straight games in the conference tournament before ending their season at the Indianola Regional after falling to national runner-up St. Thomas University.
Lakeland (18-21) had a disappointing end to its season at last year's LMC Tournament after the No. 2 seeded Muskies opened the tournament with a 5-3 loss to No. 3 Concordia, Wis. Although the squad rallied to defeat No. 5 Wisconsin Lutheran, 3-2, they fell to No. 4 Marian College in the elimination game, 5-1, ending their quest for an LMC title.
2007 NAC Softball Coaches' Preseason Poll
1. Aurora University (7), 138
2. Edgewood College (5), 135
3. Concordia University Wisconsin, 113
4. Lakeland College, 96
5. Benedictine University, 91
6. Wisconsin Lutheran College, 86
7. Marian College, 77
8. Rockford College, 66
9. Concordia University Chicago, 49
10. Alverno College, 36
11. Maranatha Baptist Bible College, 25
12. Dominican University, 24
First place votes in parentheses