URG men 2nd in final NAIA poll

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As a result of its runner-up finish in last Saturday’s NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship, the University of Rio Grande grabbed the No. 2 spot in the final NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 poll of the 2016 season.

The national office made the announcement Wednesday evening.

The RedStorm received 422 points in the balloting of a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, Association of Independent Institutions and Unaffiliated Groups.

Rio Grande (21-2-2) moved up one position from the final regular season rankings after reaching the national title game for a second straight year. The RedStorm dropped a 1-0 decision to Hastings (Neb.) in the championship contest.

Hastings, which was No. 2 in the final regular season poll, ascended to the top spot after winning the school’s second men’s soccer championship.

The Broncos grabbed all 16 first-place votes and 436 points in the balloting.

The remainder of the top five includes No. 3 Davenport (Mich.), which was bounced by Rio Grande in the national tourney, newcomer Grand View (Iowa) at No. 4 and No. 5 University of Northwestern Ohio.

Oklahoma Wesleyan, which had been ranked No. 1 for eight consecutive weeks in the regular season, slipped to No. 8.

Along with Grand View (Iowa), No. 20 Wayland Baptist (Texas) was the other newcomer to the poll.

The Heart of America Athletic Conference had three teams into the Top 25, the most of any conference. Overall, eight leagues – including the River States Conference – had multiple teams into the Top 25.

WVU-Tech was the RSC’s other ranked team. The Golden Bears jumped from No. 9 in the final regular season poll to No. 6.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing