MINNEAPOLIS -- The Salisbury University football team will begin the 2013 season ranked No. 16 in the D3football.com Preseason Top 25 Poll, the website announced on Thursday.
Salisbury (2012: 9-3, 6-1 Empire 8) earned 245 points in the poll, topping Johns Hopkins University (239), California Lutheran University (234), Franklin College (224) and Widener University (203) to round out the top 20. Defending champion University of Mount Union returns five starters from last season and topped the poll with 13 first-place votes. Last year's runner-up University of St. Thomas finished second with seven first-place votes while Linfield College earned five first-place votes and placed fourth.
Salisbury opens up the 2013 season by facing two teams that advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2012 in Christopher Newport University and fifth-ranked Wesley College (529 points). The Sea Gulls play host to CNU on Sept. 7 for the 2013 home opener and travel to Dover a week later (Sept. 14) to play the NCAA quarterfinalist Wolverines.
Three other Empire 8 Athletic Conference schools earned votes in the poll. St. John Fisher College (2012: 8-3, 4-3 Empire 8) earned 48 points and placed 24th in the poll while Buffalo State College (2012: 6-4, 4-3 Empire 8) and Ithaca College (2012: 6-4, 4-3 Empire 8) were amongst the other schools receiving votes.
Salisbury advanced to its third consecutive NCAA tournament in 2012 after winning its second straight conference championship. The Sea Gulls defeated Rowan University, 17-9, at Sea Gull Stadium in the first round on Nov. 17 before falling to Widener on the road on Nov. 24. Salisbury finished the 2012 season ranked No. 11 in the D3football.com Top 25 Poll.
Click HERE to view the full D3football.com preseason poll.