By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) landed its 48th all-time No. 1 position in the first regular-season edition of the 2014 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 poll, the national office announced Tuesday. Behind a 5-1-0 mark, the Blue Raiders pushed up two spots from the Preseason Top 25 to claim their first No. 1 ranking since Oct. 15, 2013. Lindsey Wilson captured 571 total points and 10-of-21 possible first-place votes.
The early-season portion of the schedule has been a test for Lindsey Wilson. All six opponents thus far either held a Top 25 mention or was in the “receiving votes” category in the Preseason Top 25. The Blue Raiders took down then-No. 8 Baker (Kan.) and then-No. 22 Bethel (Tenn.) in consecutive days to start the year. On Sept. 21, Northwestern Ohio snapped the Blue Raider five-match win streak with a 2-1 win in Columbia, Ky. After a match-up with Shawnee State (Ohio) on Tuesday, Lindsey Wilson hosts No. 11 Rio Grande (Ohio) on Saturday.
Thomas (Ga.) earned the No. 2 ranking this week, courtesy of four Top 25 wins. With 558 points and three first-place nods, the Night Hawks (5-0-2) improved 16 positions, which is the second-best jump within the poll. In the NAIA Game of the Week on Sept. 12, Thomas posted a 3-1 win over then-No. 1 Martin Methodist (Tenn.). That loss for Martin Methodist snapped the NAIA’s longest active unbeaten streak at 15 matches. That was part of an early-season success story that saw the Night Hawks post wins over teams ranked No. 14, No. 16 and No. 22 in the Preseason Top 25. Thomas currently holds the longest active unbeaten streak at 11 matches dating back to the 2013 campaign.
Sliding up 18 spots, No. 3 Davenport (Mich.) was the biggest mover this week with 553 points and six first-place votes. Similar to Thomas, the Panthers (7-1-0) have been on the winning end against three teams in the Preseason Top 25, including then-No. 2 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) on Sept. 1.
Both Thomas and Davenport boast their highest ranking in school history.
Previous No. 1, Martin Methodist, slips down to the No. 4 spot with 511 points and one first-place tally. The RedHawks stand 3-1-1 overall, with the loss to Thomas and a 1-1 draw against unranked Bryan (Tenn.) on Sept. 20.
Falling down three positions, No. 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) finished with 503 points. The Warhawks maintain a 5-2-0 overall record. They are scheduled to face NCAA Division III Millsaps (Miss.) Friday on the road.
No. 14 Texas at Brownsville, one of six undefeated NAIA programs remaining, highlights the list of newcomers in the Top 25. The Ocelots have rattled off six-straight wins to start the year, including victories over then-No. 13 Benedictine (Kan.) on Aug. 30 and two other triumphs again teams “receiving votes” in the Preseason Top 25. Texas at Brownsville was last ranked on Nov. 5, 2013 in the No. 22 slot.
The other rookies in the poll include: No. 15 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 16 Kansas Wesleyan, No. 20 Bellevue (Neb.), No. 22 Point Park (Pa.), No. 23 Northwestern Ohio and No. 25 Reinhardt (Ga.).
Northwestern Ohio and Point Park both claim their first Top 25 spot in program history.
Reinhardt was last ranked on Sept. 27, 2011 (No. 24), while Bellevue earned its last position on Oct. 12, 2010 (No. 22).
Indiana Wesleyan and Kansas Wesleyan were both ranked at one point during the 2013 season.
Seven programs fell out of the Top 25: Baker (No. 8), Benedictine (No. 13), Midland (Neb.) (No. 19), St. Thomas (Texas) (No. 20), Bethel (No. 22), Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (No. 23) and Biola (Calif.) (No. 24).
Sixteen of the 21 conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups were represented this week. The Southern States Athletic Conference claims the most teams in the Top 25 among all conferences/independents/unaffiliated groupings with four: Martin Methodist, Auburn Montgomery, No. 18 William Carey (Miss.) and No. 24 Belhaven (Miss.). Five other conferences and the Unaffiliated Group (Gulf Coast / Kentucky Intercollegiate) all claim two ranked teams.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. The second regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced on Sept. 30. The first NAIA Men’s Soccer Modified Ratings Percentage Index (MRPI) will be announced on Oct. 1.
For the complete men’s soccer ratings calendar, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) No. 6 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) recorded the remaining first-place vote… None of the teams in the Top 25 held their position from the Preseason poll… With the No. 1 ranking today, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) has now held the top spot at least one time in each of the past seven seasons (since 2008)… Three of the six undefeated teams are ranked in the Top 25 – No. 14 Texas at Brownsville (6-0-0), No. 2 Thomas (Ga.) (5-0-2) and No. 25 Reinhardt (Ga.) (4-0-0)… Great Falls (Mont.) and Jamestown (N.D.) both are tied for the NAIA lead with nine victories… There have been 32 different teams ranked in at least one poll this season… Martin Methodist (Tenn.) is trying to become the first program ranked No. 1 in the preseason to win the national title in the same season since Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) did so in 2001… Overall, the Southern States Athletic Conference has been the power conference recently in the NAIA with 48-straight polls in which the league has tied or placed the most teams in the Top 25 poll – the last time the conference did not tie or have the highest amount of schools was Sept. 28, 2010… There were an NAIA-record seven different schools to be ranked No. 1 during the 2013 season: Martin Methodist, Belhaven (Miss.), Mobile (Ala.), Hastings (Neb.), Lindsey Wilson, Rio Grande (Ohio) and Grand View (Iowa)… Lindsey Wilson is the longest consecutively-ranked active school at 85-straight polls, dating back to the 2007 Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 15, 2007)… Rio Grande is next in line with 78-consecutive rankings, followed by Belhaven at 51 and Missouri Valley at 45... Lindsey Wilson boasts the most all-time No. 1 rankings with 48, followed by Rio Grande with 41, Bethel (Tenn.) with 11 and Hastings with 10... Overall, 20 different teams have claimed the No. 1 spot in the poll… Since 2000, just two teams have spent the entire season ranked No. 1—Bethel in 2009 and Rio Grande in 2004.
2014 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 1 (Sept. 23)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||3||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (10)||5-1-0||571|
|2||18||Thomas (Ga.) (3)||5-0-2||558|
|3||21||Davenport (Mich.) (6)||7-1-0||553|
|4||1||Martin Methodist (Tenn.) (1)||3-1-1||511|
|5||2||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||5-2-0||503|
|6||11||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (1)||5-1-1||496|
|9||12||Grand View (Iowa)||6-1-0||459|
|11||7||Rio Grande (Ohio)||5-1-2||409|
|14||RV||Texas at Brownsville||6-0-0||308|
|18||14||William Carey (Miss.)||5-3-0||260|
|19||17||Science & Arts (Okla.)||6-1-0||231|
|22||NR||Point Park (Pa.)||5-2-0||156|
Others Receiving Votes: Great Falls (Mont.) 120; Cal State San Marcos 80; Park (Mo.) 79; UC Merced 56; Westmont (Calif.) 49; Union (Ky.) 45; Baker (Kan.) 44; Jamestown (N.D.) 22; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 21; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 21; Houston-Victoria (Texas) 19; Southwestern Christian (Okla.) 18; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 13; Columbia (Mo.) 9; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 8; Benedictine (Kan.) 8; Campbellsville (Ky.) 6.
^ 2014 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 19, 2014)