The Horizon League released its preseason coaches' poll Wednesday afternoon. Valpo received 19 points in the survey, which landed them in fourth place in the six-team conference. The 19 points represent the same total as the 2014 poll.
Wright State received five first-place votes as coaches around the league anticipate the Raiders repeating as regular season champions. Wright State compiled a superb 25-4 record in Horizon League play last year. Three of those four losses came at the hands of the Crusaders.
The UIC Flames came in at second place in the polling with 29 points. Milwaukee received one first-place vote as part of its 23 overall points. The Panthers are expected to finish third.
For the second straight season, Valparaiso was slotted fourth.
Last May's biggest surprise, the Youngstown State Penguins, garnered 12 points for a fifth-place finish. The Penguins entered the 2014 Horizon League Championship as the sixth-seed before winning four consecutive games en route to the tournament title. YSU went on to defeat Indiana State in the Bloomington Regional.
Oakland rounded out the voting in sixth place with nine points.
The Horizon League also announced its Preseason All-League Team. Junior Dalton Lundeen (Streamwood, Ill./Streamwood) was elected the Preseason Pitcher of the Year. The lefty earned Horizon League Co-Pitcher of the Year honors in 2014 thanks to a league-best 1.94 earned-run average and three complete games tossed. His minuscule 1.02 walks plus hits per nine innings pitched not only led the HL, but was 60th in the nation. Lundeen's 5.42 strikeout-to-walk ratio was the 28th-best in the country.
The Crusaders begin their season Friday night with the opening tilt of a three-game series versus the San Diego State Aztecs at 8:00 pm CT.
Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Wright State (5) -35
2. UIC – 29
3. Milwaukee (1) – 23
4. Valparaiso – 19
5. Youngstown State – 12
6. Oakland – 9
*- First Place Votes in Parenthesis
Preseason All-League Team
C – Sean Murphy, Wright State
1B – Jeff Boehm, UIC
2B – Michael Timm, Wright State
SS – Mike Brosseau, Oakland
3B – Tyler Hermann, Milwaukee; Mickey McDonald, UIC
OF – Rob Enslen, Oakland
OF – Sam Koenig, Milwaukee
OF – Andrew McCafferty, Wright State
OF – Brad Macciocchi - Wright State
DH – Jason Shirley - Youngstown State
UTIL – Tell Taylor, Milwaukee
P – Dalton Lundeen, Valparaiso
P – Andrew Elliott, Wright State
P – Kevin Yarabenic, Youngstown State
Preseason Player of the Year: Rob Enslen, Oakland
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Dalton Lundeen, Valparaiso