By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rio Grande (Ohio) is ranked No. 1 and becomes the fifth different program this season to hold the top spot in the 2014 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. In the fifth regular-season installment, the RedStorm gathered 12 first-place votes and 553 total points to slide up from No. 3 last week. With its 42nd all-time No. 1 ranking, Rio Grande replaces Davenport (Mich.) on the top of the charts.
Rio Grande garnered its first top mention since Oct. 29, 2013 and now owns at least one No. 1 ranking in each of the past three seasons and four out of the last five overall. Since a 2-1 loss to Point Park (Pa.) on Sept. 20, the RedStorm have out-scored their opponents 25-3 en route to five-straight wins. Rio Grande takes a 10-1-2 record into a road contest at Cincinnati Christian (Ohio) on Tuesday, followed by a match at Bryan (Tenn.). The RedStorm wrap up the regular season at home against No. 20 Reinhardt (Ga.) on Nov. 1.
Holding at the No. 2 position, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) earned six first-place nods and 530 points. The Pioneers, who have now been in the Top 25 in 31-straight weeks, rest 0.5-games back of first-place No. 14 Missouri Valley in the Heart of America Athletic Conference standings. Both clubs will do battle on Saturday in Olathe, Kan.
No. 3 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) improved two positions this week as it stands 11-2-1 on the season. The Warhawks have held a top-five ranking all season long and seven-consecutive polls dating back to last year. With 523 points and one first-place tally, Auburn Montgomery next faces Middle Georgia State on Thursday.
Last week’s No. 1 team, No. 4 Davenport (Mich.), falls down the ladder after a 1-0 loss to unranked Aquinas (Mich.) on Oct. 15. That setback came one day after the Panthers earned their first-ever top ranking.
No. 5 Thomas (Ga.) slides down one spot from last week. The NightHawks are 1.0 games behind the leader in The Sun Conference standings, SCAD Savannah (Ga.). The teams will meet up on Oct. 29.
No. 15 Bellevue (Neb.) makes a splash within the Top 25, with a poll-best six-spot improvement. The Bruins have gone 7-1-0 in their last eight matches, including a 4-0 win over then-No. 7 Oklahoma Wesleyan on Oct. 18. With two-straight losses, Oklahoma Wesleyan tumbles down to No. 17 for the largest fall.
For the first time this year, No. 24 Jamestown (N.D.) earns a national ranking with 137 points. The Jimmies were last ranked in the 2013 Preseason Top 25 on Aug. 20 (No. 16).
With three losses in its last four matches, Union (Ky.) (No. 20) drops out of the Top 25. The Bulldogs started the season with an 11-0-0 record.
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, No. 18 Mobile (Ala.) and No. 25 William Carey (Miss.). Four 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 sixth regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced on Oct. 28. The second regular-season Modified RPI will be announced on Wednesday by 5 p.m. CDT.
For the complete men’s soccer ratings calendar, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) No. 7 Texas at Brownsville is the only remaining undefeated team in NAIA men’s soccer at 14-0-0 and received the other first-place vote; the Ocelots are scheduled to play four more regular-season matches all coming against unranked opponents… Fourteen teams have held a ranking in each of the six polls this year (which includes Preseason)… No. 1 Rio Grande (Ohio) joins Davenport (Mich.), Thomas (Ga.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and Martin Methodist (Tenn.) as the top-ranked teams this year… Defending national champion Martin Methodist dropped out of the Top 25 on Oct. 7 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 39 different teams ranked at least once this season (through six polls)… 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)… 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 52-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 89-straight polls, dating back to the 2007 Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 15, 2007)… Rio Grande is next in line with 82-consecutive rankings, followed by Missouri Valley at 48... Lindsey Wilson boasts the most all-time No. 1 rankings with 48, followed by Rio Grande with 42, 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. 5 (Oct. 21)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||3||Rio Grande (Ohio) (12)||10-1-2||553|
|2||2||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (6)||10-1-2||530|
|3||5||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (1)||11-2-1||523|
|7||10||Texas at Brownsville (1)||14-0-0||462|
|8||9||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||10-2-1||456|
|10||6||Grand View (Iowa)||12-2-1||407|
|19||13||Science & Arts (Okla.)||10-2-0||224|
|22||25||Hope International (Calif.)||12-2-1||186|
|23||22||Point Park (Pa.)||11-2-0||178|
|25||23||William Carey (Miss.)||8-5-0||116|
Others Receiving Votes: SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 79; Marymount (Calif.) 67; Cal State San Marcos 60; Great Falls (Mont.) 59; Union (Ky.) 52; Westmont (Calif.) 44; Concordia (Ore.) 20; McPherson (Kan.) 14; Roosevelt (Ill.) 8; Park (Mo.) 8; Taylor (Ind.) 6; Concordia (Calif.) 6; Corban (Ore.) 3.