KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mother Nature may have prevented the University of Rio Grande men’s soccer team from playing last week, but she didn’t prevent head coach Scott Morrissey’s squad from climbing another spot in the latest NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released Tuesday night by the national office.
The RedStorm climbed from ninth to eighth by garnering 389 points in the balloting of a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, Association of Independent Institutions and Unaffiliated Groups.
Rio Grande (4-0), which had a home match against the University of St. Francis (IL) canceled on Saturday night due to poor field conditions caused by heavy rain, is scheduled to return to action on Saturday when Concordia (Mich.) University pays a visit to Evan E. Davis Field for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
William Carey (Miss.) is the new No. 1 team in the poll as a result of receiving 13 of the 18 first-place votes and 493 points in the balloting.
Carey jumped two spots after going 2-0 on the week and improving to 6-0 for the season.
Defending national champion – and preseason No. 1 – Wayland Baptist (Texas) remained the No. 1 team by capturing 15 of 18 first place votes and a total of 496 points.
Baker (Kan.) remained No. 2 for a second straight week after picking up the five remaining first place nods and 477 points.
Oklahoma Wesleyan moved up one spot into the No. 3 position with 453 points, while defending national champion – and preseason No. 1 – Wayland Baptist (Texas) – slipped from first to fourth with 452 points.
The University of Mobile (Ala.) rounded out the top five, jumping two positions from last week, with 416 points.
Westmont (Calif.) made the biggest jump of the week, going from No. 23 to No. 18, while Keiser (Fla.), Grace (Ind.) and Menlo (Calif.) grabbed positions 23-25, respectively, after being unranked last week.
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) had the biggest drop for the week among the Top 25 teams, falling from sixth to 10th.
Cumberland (Tenn.), St. Thomas (Fla.) and Madonna (Mich.) all dropped off the list.
One other River States Conference school – West Virginia University-Tech – received votes for a second straight week. The Golden Bears, who are coached by former Rio Grande standout Oliver Hewett-Fisher, picked up 49 points in the balloting for the equivalent of 28th place.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.