By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - After knocking off then-No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) in the NAIA Game of the Week, Rio Grande (Ohio) is the new top-ranked team in the NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The RedStorm dethrones a Lindsey Wilson club that was No.1 for 10-straight polls. Rio Grande, who prevailed over the Blue Raiders by a 3-2 overtime score on Sept. 29, gathered 16 first-place votes and 557 total points in the fifth edition of the Top 25.
The top of the poll was split amongst voters. Lindsey Wilson fell one spot and posted 532 points. No. 3 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and No. 4 Belhaven (Miss.) both received first-place votes, with the Warhawks earning three and Belhaven grabbing the other one. No. 5 Science & Arts (Okla.) locked down its position for the fourth-consecutive time with 483 points.
The RedStorm are on top for the first time since the final Top 25 Poll on Nov. 14, 2010. They pad their all-time total since 2000 to 36 mentions in the top position. Rio Grande stands 9-1-0 overall and has a 10-day layover with its next competition on Oct. 9 against Shawnee State (Ohio).
No. 15 (tie) Benedictine enjoyed the best jump within the poll. On their current eight-match unbeaten streak, the Ravens have owned a 22-1 scoring advantage. Benedictine improved six spots and garnered 277 points.
Falling the farthest among ranked teams was Mobile (Ala.), who tumbled nine spots to 23rd. Since Sept. 21, the Rams have gone 2-2.
For the first time all year, No. 17 Southern Wesleyan (S.C.), No. 20 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) and No. 25 Lyon (Ark.) enjoy a national ranking. Since poll archives date back to 2000, this recognition is a first for Southern Wesleyan and Lyon. SCAD Savannah was last ranked on Aug. 16, 2011 (No. 18).
Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) (No. 19), Bethel (Ind.) (No. 20) and Northwood (Fla.) (No. 24) all fell out this week.
The Southern States Athletic Conference leads all conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups with five teams in the Top 25: Auburn Montgomery, Belhaven, No. 9 Southern Poly (Ga.), Southern Wesleyan and Mobile. The Heart of America Athletic Conference placed three teams in the rankings: No. 7 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), No. 13 Missouri Valley and Benedictine. Four other conferences landed a pair of teams in the Top 25.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference/independents/unaffiliated groups. The sixth regular-season poll will be announced on Oct. 9.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) There are six programs in NAIA men's soccer still undefeated - Huston-Tillotson (Texas) (4-0-3) is the only team who is not ranked... The Southern States Athletic Conference has topped all conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups with the most representation in the Top 25 in each poll this year - a total of six, which includes the Preseason Top 25... Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) has its seven-poll streak of being voted the unanimous No. 1 choice... Lindsey Wilson still leads in the category of the most all-time No. 1 rankings as the Blue Raiders stand with 41 - Rio Grande is at 36, and is followed by Bethel (Tenn.) (11), Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (9) and Hastings (Neb.) (8)... Sixteen of 23 conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented... Through six polls (including preseason), there have been 40 different programs ranked... Rio Grande has been ranked in the top 10 for the last 42-straight polls, dating back to the start of the 2009 season... Overall, there have been 16 different teams to claim the No. 1 spot... Lindsey Wilson holds the distinction of being consecutively ranked the longest among active schools - 63-straight polls, dating back to the 2007 Preseason Top 25 Poll... Rio Grande is next in line with 56, followed by Belhaven (Miss.) at 29 and Mobile (Ala.) at 28... Since 2000, two teams have rattled through the entire season ranked No. 1 - Bethel in 2009 and Rio Grande during the 2004 campaign.
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD*||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Rio Grande (Ohio) (16)||9-1-0||557|
|2||1||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||10-1-0||532|
|3||3||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (3)||8-1-1||528|
|4||4||Belhaven (Miss.) (1)||11-0-0||510|
|5||5||Science & Arts (Okla.)||7-0-2||483|
|7||9||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||8-0-4||436|
|9||7||Southern Poly (Ga.)||6-2-0||422|
|T15||12||Robert Morris (Ill.)||7-1-1||277|
|17||RV||Southern Wesleyan (S.C.)||8-1-0||266|
|20||RV||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||5-3-1||205|
Others receiving votes: Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 121; Northwood (Fla.) 78; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 63; Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) 42; Saint Xavier (Ill.) 32; Jamestown (N.D.) 17; Vanguard (Calif.) 13; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 11; Cumberlands (Ky.) 10; Central Methodist (Mo.) 9; St. Ambrose (Iowa) 5; Cornerstone (Mich.) 4; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 4; Bethel (Ind.) 3.