There’s a new No. 1 in DII soccer. With West Alabama handing Lynn a 2-1 defeat this past weekend, Midwestern State jumps into the top spot of the United Soccer Coaches Poll.
There was certainly plenty of action around the top 25 this past weekend. West Alabama skyrocketed up the poll as some new faces make their debuts. One top 10 team had a comeback for the ages, while the reigning champion Charleston (WV) find their way back into the top 10. After playing to a draw in the Golden Eagles' opener, they have reeled off three-straight wins, outscoring their opponents 8-0 along the way.
Let's take a look at the latest top 25.
Midwestern State is back in familiar territory, earning the seventh No. 1 ranking in program history. Michael Meachum took over this season, taking over for Doug Elder who has led the Mustangs to the NCAA postseason in 11 of the past 12 seasons. Those are some mighty big shoes to fill, but as the top assistant coach for the past seven years, Meachum seems to have things rolling as usual in Wichita Falls, Texas.
The Mustangs ran through the Heartland Conference and South Central Regional last season avoiding a loss, going 20-0-2 until falling to Cal Poly Pomona in the national quarterfinals on penalty kicks. Out to a perfect 3-0 start this season, their last official loss was way back on November 20, 2016, in the quarterfinals to UC San Diego. The Mustangs open Heartland Conference play this week where they look to keep the winning ways rolling.
Behind a balanced attack, the Mustangs have seen seven players combine to score its eight goals on the season, only Connor Cesar having multiple goals thus far. Between the pipes, Taylor Lampe continues to impress, posting two shutouts in his three wins this season. After a strong debut last season, Lampe now has ten shutouts in his 16 career starts, having never lost a game in net. Beating the Mustangs is not going to be an easy task for anyone in the Heartland Conference, but a September 20 showdown with No. 13 St. Mary’s should be an exciting one.
The Mustangs laid claim to the top spot thanks to West Alabama’s upset over then-No. 1 Lynn on Sunday. The Tigers were also rewarded for their efforts, jumping ten spots and cracking the top 10 landing at No. 9. It was a statement victory for West Alabama against a Lynn team that ended the Tigers 2017 season in the South Regionals.
West Alabama is coming off a historic season, racking up the most wins and best record in program history. It appears that wasn’t good enough for the Tigers, who are off and running with a huge upset under their belt already. Harrison Roberts is picking up where he left off last season. The 2017 First-Team All-GSC midfielder hit the clinching penalty kick to win the Tigers fourth-straight Gulf South championship and currently paces the offense with two goals and two assists. West Alabama opens GSC play this week, looking to run to yet another conference title.
Speaking of big jumps, UC San Diego rose from the unranked to No. 14. The Tritons received votes in last week’s poll and skyrocketed this week after a 4-0 start. UC San Diego followed up their record-setting 2016 with a 10-2-5 record, seeing its season end in the first round of the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. The Tritons are looking to get back to the NCAA postseason and are clearly off to the right start in doing so.
LIU Post (No. 23) and Seton Hill (No. 25) make debuts in the poll this week. For Seton Hill, the Griffins join their women soccer team counterparts in cracking the top 25 for the first time in their DII history. The Griffins had a big upset this past week, defeating No. 16 District of Columbia 3-1 and knocking them from the poll. LIU Post moved to 3-1 behind the hot foot of Lukas Ostermann. Ostermann has scored in all four of the Pioneers' victories this season, scoring two in their latest victory over East Stroudsburg.
In jeopardy of a 3-0 loss, Northeastern State scored four goals in 11 minutes for the WIN. 😲pic.twitter.com/e8hiJPjztd— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) September 9, 2018
And how about No. 8 Northeastern State? The RiverHawks proved their top 10 ranking was worthy with one of the more incredible comebacks you’ll ever see. Trailing 3-0 late in the second half, the RiverHawks scored four goals in a six-minute span to pull off the win and remain undefeated on the season. Northeastern State dropped its first three games last season, so this start for the current No. 8 team in DII soccer is much needed. The RiverHawks still have two out of conference games remaining before opening their MIAA slate against No. 18 Fort Hays State.