NORMAN, OK – The Florida Southern Moccasins will go into the spring semester ranked No. 2 in the nation by the Golf Coaches Association of America in its final Bushnell Golfweek Division II poll of the fall. The November 17 rankings have West Florida still at No. 1, with Florida Southern the first of four Sunshine State Conference teams rounding out the top-five.
West Florida was a unanimous pick for the top spot as the Argonauts picked up all 18 first-place votes for a total of 450 points. Florida Southern had 422 points, which put the Moccasins 19 points ahead of No. 3 Lynn. Those two teams were reversed in the previous two polls, but after defeating the Knights in each of their last two tournaments, the Moccasins were able to move back in front of their conference rivals from Boca Raton.
Nova Southeastern and Florida Tech held their positions at No. 4 and No. 5 respectively, though the Panthers now have company at No. 5. Newberry (SC), which had been No. 6, picked up enough votes to tie Florida Tech for fifth in the poll after previously trailing the Panthers by 26 points. The Wolves won three of their four tournaments in the fall, including the most recent McDonough Cup hosted by Rollins.
Completing the top-10 are Limestone (SC), Cal State-Monterey Bay, Saint Leo and Columbus State (GA), with Saint Leo the only newcomer to the top-10. The Lions had been 11th in the October 20 poll and by moving up two spots, bumped Chico State down to the second 10.
In addition to having four of the top-five and five of the top-10, the Sunshine State Conference also had Barry at No. 12 and Rollins at No. 18. That again gives the SSC the most teams of any conference in the national poll.
Florida Southern played in four tournaments during the fall portion of its schedule, and all four of them featured at a bare minimum four of the top five teams in the national poll at the time of play. The Mocs went 1-2 against those top-five teams in the first one, and then went 9-2 in the next three. That included a win over all of them at the Copperhead Championship and a runner-up finish behind only West Florida at the Miami Intercollegiate. The Moccasins and Argonauts have split their last six head-to-head rounds, 3-3.
The Moccasins have been led to this point by their two senior All-Americans, John VanDerLaan and John Coultas. VanDerLaan owns a 69.67 stroke average for the season and a 71.34 career average, while Coultas is at 71.25 for the season and 71.53 in his career. They each finished in the top-20 of every tournament this fall and have combined for 17 top-five finishes, and 21 top-10s over the last year-and-a-half, which covers 19 tournaments.
Junior Michael VanDerLaan owns a 71.92 stroke average and has been in the top-20 of all four tournaments this fall too. He had a career-best fourth-place showing at the Copperhead Championship where the Mocs defeated West Florida by three shots. Junior Christian Anderson has a 73.33 average, not only the best of his career, but more than one full stroke lower than his average as a sophomore.
Freshman Jacob Penny has been a major contributor too with a 71.73 average. After playing in the first tournament of the season as an individual and shooting one-under par, Penny has followed that with three consecutive top-20s as a member of the regular lineup.
Florida Southern returns to action February 12-13 when it hosts the Matlock Collegiate Classic at Lone Palm Golf Club. That tournament will again feature top-five teams West Florida, Florida Southern, Lynn, Nova Southeastern and Florida Tech.
For the complete NCAA Division II poll, click here.