By Mark Colachico, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For this first time in program history, Rocky Mountain (Mont.) earned the nation’s No. 1 ranking in the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Battlin’ Bears earned 14 first-place votes and 635 points.
Prior to today’s announcement, Rocky Mountain was ranked as high as No. 7 twice since 2011 with the last one happening during the 2012 preseason poll. The Battlin’ Bears also made the largest leap this week moving up from No. 17 in the preseason poll to capture this week’s top spot. After dropping two of its first three matches to open the 2014 season, Rocky Mountain has won 10-straight matches that included three consecutive victories over Top 10 opponents in a 24-hour span last weekend at the Big Sky Challenge, co-hosted by Carroll (Mont.) and Montana Tech. Rocky Mountain is the first Frontier Conference member to be ranked in the Top 5 since Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) earned six straight No. 2 rankings during the 2000 season.
Despite earning six first-place votes, No. 2 Texas at Brownsville slid down one spot from the 2014 preseason edition earning 631 points. The Ocelots have won seven-of-eight matches so far this season, as the team’s only loss was a five-set thriller against Rocky Mountain at the Big Sky Challenge.
No. 3 Concordia (Calif.) also fell one spot from the preseason poll despite earned three first-place votes and 622 points. The Eagles have won 12-of-13 matches so far this season, including their first 10 contests before dropping a five-set affair this past weekend against Rocky Mountain at the Big Sky Challenge.
No. 4 Viterbo (Wis.) also made a large jump this week, moving up 11 spots from the preseason poll thanks to 571 points. The V-Hawks have won 14-of-15 matches to begin the 2014 season. So far this season, Viterbo has defeated four opponents that were ranked in the preseason Top 25.
Holding steady at No. 5 is Northwestern (Iowa) with 561 points. The Red Raiders were selected the preseason favorite to win the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) and have won 10-of-11 matches this season that includes a current nine-match winning streak.
Four newcomers join the Top 25 in No. 16 Southern Oregon, No. 18 Hastings (Neb.), No. 19 Evangel (Mo.) and No. 24 Cal State-San Marcos. Southern Oregon is making a return to the Top 25 for the first time since the final poll of the 2011 season, while the other three schools were all ranked last season.
Twelve of the 23 conferences are represented throughout the Top 25, led by the GPAC’s four teams – Northwestern, No. 7 Midland (Neb.), Hastings, and No. 23 Dordt (Iowa). The Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) and the American Midwest Conference land a trio of schools in the poll.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and Independents. The second regular-season Top 25 will be announced Sept. 16.
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Notes: (All information as of 2000) Rocky Mountain (Mont.) becomes the first Frontier Conference member to earn a No. 1 ranking … Rocky Mountain appeared in only four polls during the 2013 season … Five Frontier Conference members have appeared in the Top 25 since 2000 … Rocky Mountain becomes ninth team to hold No. 1 ranking since 2000 … Former member Fresno Pacific (Calif.) has the most No. 1 appearances with 70, followed by former member National American (S.D.) with 33 … Concordia (Calif.), which ranks fifth all-time with 14 No. 1 mentions, holds the longest active streak in the Top 25 at 100-straight polls … Biola (Calif.) is second with 99-consecutive mentions, followed by Columbia (Mo.) (87), Texas at Brownsville (62) and Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (52) … There has only been one program that has been able to maintain the No. 1 ranking for an entire season with Fresno Pacific accomplishing the feat in 2004, 2008 and 2009.2014 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 1 (Sep. 9)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 Record||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||17||Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (14)||11-2||635|
|2||1||Texas at Brownsville (6)||7-1||631|
|3||2||Concordia-Irvine (Calif.) (3)||12-1||622|
|10||6||Grand View (Iowa)||7-2||462|
|11||3||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||4-4||407|
|22||10||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||11-2||200|
|24||RV||Cal State-San Marcos||10-4||170|
Others receiving votes: Jamestown (N.D.) 147; Coastal Georgia 107; College of Idaho 77; Westmont (Calif.) 73; Trinity Christian (Ill.) 46; Grace (Ind.) 39; Bryan (Tenn.) 34; .Cornerstone (Mich.) 31; St. Catherine (Ky.) 28; Baker (Kan.) 23; Montana Tech 20; Concordia (Neb.) 11; The Master’s (Calif.) 7; Kansas Wesleyan 6; Ashford (Iowa) 5; Taylor (Ind.) 5; Concordia (Ore.) 4; Carroll (Mont.) 3; College of the Ozarks (Mo.) 3; Briar Cliff (Iowa) 3.