By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Behind a 15-match unbeaten streak, Thomas (Ga.) holds on to the No. 1 position in the 2014 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Night Hawks landed 620 total points and 13 first-place votes in the third installment of the Top 25. Last week, Thomas earned its first-ever No. 1 ranking and continues to boast the NAIA’s longest unbeaten streak.
Thomas currently leads The Sun Conference standings with a 4-0 mark and is 9-0-2 overall. The Night Hawks have not lost since Oct. 30, 2013 against SCAD Savannah (Ga.), and this year owns four Top 25 wins. In its last five victories, Thomas has held a 15-2 scoring advantage. The Night Hawks next face Florida Memorial and St. Thomas (Fla.) over the weekend.
With seven first-place votes, No. 2 Davenport (Mich.) holds strong with 578 total points. MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) maintains the No. 3 position with 549 points this week. No. 4 Rio Grande (Ohio) and No. 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) flip-flop positions from last week. The Red Storm posted 513 total points, while Auburn Montgomery holds 506 points. The reason for the movement occurred due to a tie by the Warhawks on Oct. 2 to unranked Bethel (Tenn.).
With a three-spot jump, No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan and No. 19 Northwestern Ohio marked the best improvement within the poll. Conversely, No. 12 Georgia Gwinnett fell four positions after a loss to No. 24 Reinhardt (Ga.) on Sept. 30.
No. 25 Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) makes the biggest impression as the Lynx are ranked for the first time in the history of the soccer program. Since Lindenwood became an NAIA member in 2012, the Lynx have tied their longest win streak with six-straight victories in that era. Lindenwood stands 9-1-2 on the year and is riding a six-match shutout streak as well.
The other newcomers this week are No. 18 Mobile (Ala.) and No. 23 Great Falls (Mont.). The Rams last appeared on Oct. 1, 2013 in the No. 19 position. Great Falls was last ranked on Sept. 11, 2012 (No. 22).
Falling out of the Top 25 is Martin Methodist (Tenn.) (No. 12), Belhaven (Miss.) (No. 21) and Westmont (Calif.) (No. 25). Belhaven previously held the third-longest active streak of 52-straight rankings.
Seventeen 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 three: Auburn Montgomery, Mobile and No. 22 William Carey (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 third regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced on Oct. 14.
For the complete men’s soccer ratings calendar, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) No. 1 Thomas (Ga.) joins Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and Martin Methodist (Tenn.) as the top-ranked teams this year… Defending national champion Martin Methodist drops out of the Top 25 for the first time in 12 polls and becomes the first defending national champion to not be ranked the following season since former member Azusa Pacific (Calif.) fell out during the 2008 season … There have been 37 different teams ranked at least once this season (through four polls)… For the second-straight week, No. 6 Grand View (Iowa) recorded the remaining first-place vote… With the No. 1 ranking on Sept. 23, Lindsey Wilson has now held the top spot at least one time in each of the past seven seasons (since 2008)… No. 23 Great Falls (Mont.) leads the NAIA with 12 victories… Martin Methodist 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 did so in 2001… Overall, the Southern States Athletic Conference has been the power conference recently in the NAIA with 50-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… Lindsey Wilson is the longest consecutively-ranked active school at 87-straight polls, dating back to the 2007 Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 15, 2007)… Rio Grande is next in line with 80-consecutive rankings, followed by Missouri Valley at 46... 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, 21 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. 3 (Oct. 7)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||FINAL POINTS|
|1||1||Thomas (Ga.) (13)||9-0-2||584|
|2||2||Davenport (Mich.) (7)||10-1-0||578|
|3||3||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||8-1-1||549|
|4||5||Rio Grande (Ohio)||7-1-2||513|
|5||4||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||8-2-1||506|
|6||7||Grand View (Iowa) (1)||9-1-1||503|
|9||9||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||7-2-1||435|
|10||11||Texas at Brownsville||10-0-0||426|
|15||17||Science & Arts (Okla.)||9-1-0||315|
|21||23||Point Park (Pa.)||6-2-0||190|
|22||20||William Carey (Miss.)||6-4-0||164|
|23||RV||Great Falls (Mont.)||12-1-0||154|