By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Behind eight-straight victories, Rio Grande (Ohio) claims the No. 1 position for the third-consecutive week in the 2014 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The RedStorm gathered 19-of-20 first-place votes and 560 total points. They finished the regular-season with a 13-1-2 overall record after a 4-0 shutout of then-No. 21 Reinhardt (Ga.) on Nov. 1.
The RedStorm will enter the Unaffiliated Group Tournament (Gulf Coast / Kentucky Intercollegiate) on Nov. 8 with a streak of 12-straight NAIA National Championship appearances on the line. Goalkeeper Jon Dodson, ranked No. 2 in the country in goals against average per game (0.430), leads the hot defensive unit. Rio Grande has allowed just one goal in the last six matches.
No. 2 Ashford (Iowa) holds at the No. 2 spot with 533 points. The 10-1-5 Saints have suffered just one defeat on the year back on Sept. 5 to then-No. 21 Davenport (Mich.). Most recently, Ashford ended with a 1-1 draw to then-No. 5 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Nov. 1.
Moving up one spot, No. 3 Texas at Brownsville recorded 529 points. The Ocelots are the only undefeated team remaining in NAIA Men’s or Women’s Soccer. They become the first NAIA men’s soccer program to finish the regular-season without a loss (18-0-0) since Oklahoma Wesleyan (18-0-1) and Science & Arts (Okla.) (13-0-3) did so in the 2012 campaign.
No. 4 Lindsey Wilson and No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan round out the top five with 500 and 486 points, respectively. The Blue Raiders hold their third-straight top-five ranking. Indiana Wesleyan boasts its first-ever top-five position in school history.
No. 13 SCAD Savannah (Ga.), one week after claiming its first ranking of the year, improves the most within the Top 25 with a 10-spot climb. Behind a 13-match unbeatan streak, the NAIA’s second-longest active stretch, the Bees have wrapped up The Sun Conference regular-season title with a 9-0-1 league record.
On the flip side, No. 15 Thomas (Ga.) slides down 12 positions. The NightHawks have gone 3-2-1 in their last six contests.
No. 24 Concordia (Calif.), courtesy of an eight-match undefeated streak, earns a ranking for the first time since Sept. 23, 2014 (No. 17). The Eagles landed the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Golden State Athletic Conference tournament with a 11-3-2 overall mark and 7-1-2 in league play.
William Carey (Miss.) (No. 25) drops of the Top 25. The absence snaps a 15-week stretch of Top 25 mentions for the Crusaders.
Eighteen of the 21 conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups were represented this week. Six different conferences and the Unaffiliated Group (Gulf Coast / Kentucky Intercollegiate) claim the most teams in the Top 25 among all conferences/independents/unaffiliated groupings with two each.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. The eighth regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced on Nov. 11. The third and final regular-season Modified RPI will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 16.
For the complete men’s soccer ratings calendar, click here.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 2000) With the No. 1 mention on Oct. 21, Rio Grande (Ohio) has now garnered at least one top ranking in each of the past three seasons and four out of the last five overall… There have been 40 different teams to be ranked at least once this year –thirteen teams have held a ranking in each of the eight polls this year (which includes Preseason)… No. 3 Texas at Brownsville is the only remaining undefeated team in NAIA men’s soccer at 18-0-0… No. 1 Rio Grande 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 … 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 54-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 91-straight polls, dating back to the 2007 Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 15, 2007)… Rio Grande is next in line with 84-consecutive rankings, followed by Missouri Valley at 50... Lindsey Wilson boasts the most all-time No. 1 rankings with 48, followed by Rio Grande with 44, 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. 7 (Nov. 4)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Rio Grande (Ohio) (19)||13-1-2||560|
|3||4||Texas at Brownsville (1)||18-0-0||529|
|4||5||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||11-2-2||500|
|7||9||Grand View (Iowa)||14-2-1||452|
|9||10||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||12-2-2||401|
|13||23||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||10-2-3||348|
|14||6||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||12-4-1||318|
|20||20||Point Park (Pa.)||14-2-0||220|
|21||24||Great Falls (Mont.)||16-2-0||180|
|25||19||Science & Arts (Okla.)||13-3-0||82|