Springfield, which won its sixth Molten Division III National Championship a year ago, received all 16 first-place votes as it totaled 240 points in the preseason poll. Juniata sits right behind the Pride, ranked second, while Nazareth College is ranked third. Rounding out the top five include UC Santa Cruz in fourth and Rivier in fifth.
This season, Springfield's schedule is littered with teams ranked in the preseason national poll. Springfield is scheduled to play second-ranked Juniata and 12th-ranked NYU twice, sixth-ranked Philadelphia Biblical, as well as seventh-ranked Baruch. Springfield will also play its home-opener on January 28th against 14th-ranked Emmanuel.
The Pride's season kicks off Friday on the west coast as it takes on NAIA-power California Baptist at 12:00 pm, before battling Hope International at 7:00 pm.