NAIA Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Rio Grande is ranked second in the 2017 NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll released by the national office late Tuesday.
The RedStorm, who won the 2015 national championship before finishing as the national runner-up last year, tallied 482 points in the balloting of a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, Association of Independent Institutions and Unaffiliated Groups.
Head coach Scott Morrissey's squad, which finished 21-2-2 in 2016 after a 1-0 loss to Hastings (Neb.) in the national title game, has now appeared in 99 consecutive polls.
Rio opens its regular season schedule on Saturday night when it hosts Saint Xavier (IL) University in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Evan E. Davis Field.
Hastings claimed the No. 1 ranking in the poll, earning the maximum 498 total points to gain the top ranking for the 12th time in school history.
The Broncos return three NAIA All-Americans from 2016, including Daniel Whitehall, who was the 2016 National Player of the Year. Whitehall owns the school record for goals in a season with 34, and points in a season, with 77. GPAC defensive player of the year and 2nd Team All-American Joe White returns at goalkeeper for his senior season with the Broncos.
Rounding out the top five were Grand View (Iowa), the University of Northwestern Ohio and another River States Conference school, WVU-Tech.
Grand View had 457 points in the voting and UNOH finished with 450, while the Golden Bears - who tied the RedStorm for the RSC regular season championship last season - totaled 429 points in the balloting.