By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the fourth-straight week, Rio Grande (Ohio) is listed as the No. 1 team in the Men's Soccer Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. With 591 points, the RedStorm was the unanimous pick by the coaches around the country. Holding at Nos. 2 and 3 are Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and Science & Arts (Okla.), respectively.
The rest of the top five sees No. 4 Columbia (Mo.) improve three spots from last week. One of three undefeated teams in the NAIA, the Cougars boast a top-five ranking for the first time since Sept. 25, 2001. Holding steady at No. 5 is Auburn Montgomery (Ala.). The Warhawks captured 506 points to remain in the top five for the seventh time out of the last eight polls.
After a season-opening loss, Rio Grande continues to stay hot. The RedStorm take a 12-match win streak into a road contest at Bluefield (Va.) on Wednesday. The Mid-South Conference regular season will then end on Saturday at Bryan (Tenn.). Rio Grande ranks in the top-five statistically in five categories, including second in goals scored (4.2) and total shutouts (7).
The biggest movers within the poll occurred in the Southern States Athletic Conference. Moving up nine spots is No. 9 Mobile (Ala.) and suffering a nine-position fall is No. 15 Belhaven (Miss.). The Rams picked up their sixth-straight win on Oct. 20 with a 3-1 defeat of then-No. 6 Belhaven. In their last four matches, the Blazers have gone 1-2-1.
The bottom four teams in the poll are the newcomers this week: No. 22 St. Thomas (Fla.), No. 23 Milligan (Tenn.), No. 24 Biola (Calif.) and No. 25 Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.). Both Biola and Hannibal-LaGrange were ranked previously this year. St. Thomas and Milligan both get mentioned for the first time in 2012.
Bryan (Tenn.) (No. 15), Hastings (Neb.) (No. 19), Northwood (Fla.) (No. 23) and Robert Morris (Ill.) (No. 25) suffered a drop out of the poll.
The Southern States Athletic Conference leads all conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups with five teams in the Top 25: Auburn Montgomery, Mobile, No. 12 Southern Poly (Ga.), Belhaven and No. 13 Southern Wesleyan (S.C.). The Heart of America Athletic Conference placed three teams in the rankings: No. 8 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), No. 11 Missouri Valley and No. 14 Benedictine (Kan.).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference/independents/unaffiliated groups. The second NAIA Modified Ratings Percentage Index (MRPI) will be announced on Wednesday by 5 p.m. CST. The ninth regular-season poll will be announced on Oct. 30.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) In eight of nine polls this year, the No. 1 ranked team was a unanimous selection... No. 22 St. Thomas (Fla.) and No. 23 Milligan (Tenn.) are ranked for the first time since 2011... The duo of Rio Grande (Ohio) and Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) have been ranked in either the Nos. 1 or 2 positions for the last seven polls... Rio Grande has now been ranked in the top 10 for the last 45-straight polls, dating back to the start of the 2009 season... There are three programs in NAIA men's soccer undefeated - No. 3 Science & Arts (Okla.), No. 4 Columbia (Mo.) and No. 6 Oklahoma Wesleyan... 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 nine, which includes the Preseason Top 25... Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) still leads in the category of the most all-time No. 1 rankings as the Blue Raiders stand with 41 - Rio Grande is at 39, and is followed by Bethel (Tenn.) (11), Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (9) and Hastings (Neb.) (8)... Fourteen of 23 conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented... Through nine polls (including preseason) this year, there have been 43 different programs ranked... 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 - 66-straight polls, dating back to the 2007 Preseason Top 25 Poll... Rio Grande is next in line with 59, followed by Belhaven (Miss.) at 32 and Mobile (Ala.) at 31... Since 2000, two teams have rattled through the entire season ranked No. 1 - Bethel in 2009 and Rio Grande during the 2004 campaign.
2012 NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Top 25 Poll - No. 8
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Rio Grande (Ohio) (21)||12-1-0||591|
|2||2||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||14-1-0||572|
|3||3||Science & Arts (Okla.)||12-0-2||553|
|5||5||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||12-2-2||506|
|8||9||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||10-1-5||461|
|12||10||Southern Poly (Ga.)||10-3-1||396|
|13||14||Southern Wesleyan (S.C.)||12-2-1||348|
|19||20||Martin Methodist (Tenn.)||10-3-0||261|
|22||RV||St. Thomas (Fla.)||9-3-1||184|
Others receiving votes: Bryan (Tenn.) 121; Robert Morris (Ill.) 96; Hastings (Neb.) 89; Lyon (Ark.) 38; Indiana Wesleyan 34; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 27; Cornerstone (Mich.) 19; Jamestown (N.D.) 14; Northwood (Fla.) 12; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 9; Grand View (Iowa) 9; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 7; William Carey (Miss.) 6; Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) 4; Great Falls (Mont.) 4.