KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Following a stellar start to the 2012 season that saw the North Georgia College & State women's soccer team post a 3-0 record over a five-day stretch, the Saints find themselves ranked 20th-nationally according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire NCAA Division II Women's National Top-25 which was released Tuesday afternoon.
It is the third time in as many years that the women's soccer program has appeared in the national rankings. Last season, the Saints were ranked as high as 10th-nationally en route to posting a program-best 16 wins that included their first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II tournament.
The Saints are also currently third in the inaugural Southeast Region Rankings of the year behind nationally-ranked No. 6 Lenoir-Rhyne and No. 11 Columbus State. The region rankings heavily favored the Peach Belt Conference as nine teams from the league appeared in the top-10.
Last week, North Georgia opened the 2012 season with a pair of shutout victories Thursday, Aug. 30 and Saturday, Sept. 1 before capping their tough stretch of three games in five days with a 3-1 victory over Belmont Abbey. The Saints kick-started things with a 3-0 win at the University of Alabama-Huntsville on Thursday before dominating Mount Olive College 7-0 Saturday afternoon in their own early-season tournament.
In total, 24 different players saw action in the three games with nine recording at least one goal. Abby Trevino led all scorers in the stretch with three goals while Whitley Dover and Kelly Penston each had two.
Caroline Wallace recorded a goal and three assists in the five-day stretch while Taylor Lee and Cicely Taliaferro each chipped in two assists. Taliaferro also added a header for a goal in Monday's match.
Saint Rose and Grand Valley State remained atop the national standings as they were ranked 1-2 in the preseason rankings, but Chico State and California (Pa.) both made slight advances in the standings to third and fourth respectively. Fort Lewis, previously ranked 10th in the nation, jumped up to fifth.
In total, nine teams which were unranked in the pre-season rankings jumped into the top-25 poll with fellow Peach Belt school Armstrong Atlantic State taking the biggest tumble as they fell out of the top-25 poll from third. 11th-ranked Columbus State is the only other PBC team still ranked in the top-25 following the opening week of competition.
North Georgia will take their national-ranking on the road for a stiff test later this week as the Saints travel down to Pensacola, Fla. for the West Florida Tournament Friday, Sept. 7 through Sunday, Sept. 9. The Saints will take on Florida Southern Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. followed by 16th-ranked Rollins University Sunday morning in an 11 a.m. match.