By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - National champion Belhaven (Miss.) holds the No. 1 position in the 2012 NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Blazers grabbed its second all-time national championship after a 2-0 defeat of No. 11 seed Mobile (Ala.) on Dec. 1 in Montgomery, Ala. A unanimous selection with 16 first-place votes, Belhaven captured 436 total points. The top ranking is a first for Belhaven, since polls date back to 2000 season.
Seeded No. 12 in the national championship, Belhaven finished the season with a 19-4-1 record. The Blazers entered the championship with two-straight losses, the last coming in the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Second Round. After that stretch, Belhaven rattled off five-consecutive wins in the postseason. Yesterday, the Blazers landed Will Monsour on the NAIA All-America Third Team.
Mobile earned the No. 2 ranking with 419 total points. That is the highest spot in the poll since a No. 2 slot on Sept. 27, 2011. The Rams reached the title game for the fourth time overall and first since 2002.
Previous No. 1-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) checks in at No. 3 with 411 points. The Blue Raiders had been No. 1 or 2 for the past 20-straight weeks prior to today. Lindsey Wilson dropped a 1-0 contest to Belhaven in the national championship semifinals.
No. 4 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) creeps up 11 positions, as it gathered 383 total points. The ranking is the highest for the Pioneers in school history. They advanced to the semifinals for the first time ever before falling to Mobile, 2-1.
With an 18-4-2 record, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) earns the No. 5 spot with 375 points. The Warhawks have now been in the top 10 in each of the 13 polls this season.
Advancing to the national championship second round, No. 17 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) joins No. 25 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) as the two newcomers. The Tigers posted 211 points for its first ranking since Oct. 7, 2008 (No. 17). Cardinal Stritch, a national championship opening round participant, is in the poll for the first time since Sept. 12, 2007 (No. 23 - tie).
Tennessee Wesleyan (No. 23) and Martin Methodist (Tenn.) (No. 25) fell out of the Top 25.
The Southern States Athletic Conference leads all conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups with five teams in the Top 25: Belhaven, Mobile, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), No. 8 Southern Poly (Ga.) and No. 22 Southern Wesleyan (S.C.). The Heart of America Athletic Conference placed three teams in the rankings: MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), No. 19 Benedictine (Kan.) and No. 20 Missouri Valley.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference/independents/unaffiliated groups.
For a complete schedule of the polls, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) In 13 polls throughout this year, there were 48 different teams ranked at some point... There are four teams from the Southern States Athletic Conference ranked in the top 10... Third-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) finishes the season with the most wins in the NAIA with 22... In 10-of-13 polls this year, including this week, the No. 1 ranked team has been a unanimous selection... No. 9 Rio Grande (Ohio) has now been ranked in the top 10 for the last 49-straight polls, dating back to the start of the 2009 season... The Southern States Athletic Conference has topped all conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups with the most representation in the Top 25 in each of the 13 polls this year... Lindsey Wilson leads in the category of the most all-time No. 1 rankings as the Blue Raiders stand with 44 - Rio Grande is next in line at 39, and is followed by Bethel (Tenn.) (11), Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (9) and Hastings (Neb.) (8)... Fifteen of 23 conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in this week's Top 25...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 - 70-straight polls, dating back to the 2007 Preseason Top 25 Poll... Rio Grande is next in line with 63, followed by Belhaven (Miss.) at 36 and Mobile (Ala.) at 35... 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 - POSTSEASON
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||21||Belhaven (Miss.) (16)||19-4-1||436|
|3||1||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||22-2-0||411|
|4||15||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||13-2-9||383|
|5||6||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||18-4-2||375|
|8||11||Southern Poly (Ga.)||15-6-1||335|
|9||2||Rio Grande (Ohio)||16-3-1||324|
|10||T4||Science & Arts (Okla.)||14-1-4||320|
|17||RV||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||14-4-5||211|
|22||14||Southern Wesleyan (S.C.)||15-3-2||130|
|23||20||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||13-3-2||128|
|24||19||St. Thomas (Fla.)||12-4-1||86|
|25||RV||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||13-4-2||79|
Others receiving votes: Tennessee Wesleyan 78; Aquinas (Mich.) 64; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 59; Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 48; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 26; Grand View (Iowa) 26; Texas Wesleyan 13; Lyon (Ark.) 9; Point Park (Pa.) 6; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 6; Thomas (Ga.) 6; Baker (Kan.) 4; Bethel (Tenn.) 4; Northwood (Fla.) 3; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 3.