Story courtesy of the PSAC
Photo courtesy of Kutztown Athletics
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Defending PSAC East and overall champion Kutztown has been picked to win the Eastern Division while California and IUP have been chosen as co-favorites to win the PSAC West. This marks the seventh straight season that the Vulcans have been picked as at least a co-favorite in the PSAC West, while IUP is a favorite for the first time since 2003. In the PSAC East, Kutztown, fresh off its first PSAC Championship in school history, is the favorite for the first time in preseason poll history. Their previous best place in a preseason poll was second—done twice.
The Golden Bears are coming off not only their first PSAC Championship, but also just their second PSAC East championship in program history. After sharing the title with LIU Post last year, the Golden Bears will be looking for their first-ever outright PSAC East title as they look to repeat as overall conference champions. Kutztown, which also appeared in the NCAA playoffs for the second straight year and for just the second time overall in 2011, will be looking to get back to the “State Game” for just the third time in program history. California, which also appeared in the NCAA playoffs last season for the fifth straight year—which is the fifth-longest current streak in Division II—won at least a share of the Western Division for the seventh straight season in 2011 but lost out on a tiebreaker to Slippery Rock for the right to advance to the PSAC championship game. The Vulcans will be looking to get back to the PSAC championship game for the first time since 2009. IUP will be looking for its first divisional title since 2006, when it shared the title with the Vulcans. The Crimson Hawks have not appeared in the “State Game” since it was reinstated prior to the 2008 season and last played in it in 1987, winning the final version of the conference title game before it was discontinued until 2008. IUP, which owns the most NCAA playoff appearances of any team in the PSAC, will also be looking for its first NCAA playoff appearance since 2007.
Only two teams in the PSAC East received first place votes—Kutztown and Bloomsburg. The Golden Bears picked up five first place votes while the Huskies received the remaining three. LIU Post came in third, while fourth place West Chester just edged out fifth place Shippensburg by two points. East Stroudsburg, Millersville and Cheyney rounded out the East poll.
Half of the teams in the Western Division received first place votes, with co-favorites California and IUP picked up five of them combined. Defending co-West champion Slippery Rock came in third with two first place votes, finishing just two points behind the Vulcans and Crimson Hawks. Edinboro finished fourth, with Mercyhurst coming in coming in fifth, just three points behind the Fighting Scots. The Lakers received the remaining first place vote. Gannon, Clarion and Lock Haven rounded out the West poll.
The results of the coaches’ poll are listed below. First place votes are in parenthesis.
1. Kutztown (5)
2. Bloomsburg (3)
3. LIU Post
4. West Chester
6. East Stroudsburg
T1. California (2)
T1. IUP (3)
3. Slippery Rock (2)
5. Mercyhurst (1)
8. Lock Haven