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WAUKESHA - The Lakeland College men's soccer team is predicted to finish eighth in the Northern Athletics Conference this season based on a preseason poll of league coaches.
The Muskies received 59 points in the poll to place eighth of the conference's 12 teams. League power Dominican (Ill.) University is the prohibitive favorite to win the title again, as the Stars received all 12 first-place votes and 144 points total.
Concordia University Wisconsin was second in the poll with 125 points, while Milwaukee School of Engineering (118 points) third, Aurora (Ill.) University (112) fourth and Edgewood (Wis.) College rounding out the top five with 95 points.
Lakeland finished 5-4-2 in the NAC (8-7-3 overall) last season to finish tied for sixth in the conference. The Muskies just missed qualifying for the six-team NAC postseason tourney.
Dominican has won all six regular season and tournament championships since the NAC was formed in 2006. The Stars finished last year at 19-3 overall and 11-0 in the NAC and this year are ranked 17th in the NSCAA Coaches' Preseason Poll. Dominican has made 10 consecutive trips to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament and last year advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The league's six-team conference tournament will take place Oct. 28-Nov. 3, with the tournament champion receiving the NAC's automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
2012 Northern Athletics Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Dominican (12 first-place votes), 144 points
2. Concordia Wisconsin, 125
3. MSOE, 118
4. Aurora, 112
5. Edgewood, 95
6. Benedictine, 76
7. Marian, 68
8. Lakeland, 59
9. Wisconsin Lutheran, 52
10. Concordia Chicago, 45
11. Maranatha, 30
12. Rockford, 12