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Zach Pekale | NCAA.com | September 4, 2019

Men's college soccer rankings: Wake Forest moves to No. 1 after top 10 struggles

Men's soccer players to watch in 2019

No. 1 Maryland’s 2-0 loss to Virginia was the program’s first since October 2018. That result vaulted Wake Forest into the spot as the Terps and other top-10 teams struggled during the season’s first weekend.

Wake Forest reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches Poll following wins over UCF and Creighton to open the season. The Demon Deacons held the top spot for nine of 11 weeks during the 2018 regular season. 

Filing in after Wake Forest is Indiana, which held at No. 2, followed by Maryland, Stanford and Duke to round out the top 5.  Wake Forest and Stanford were the only  top-5 teams to face ranked opponents thus far. The Demon Deacons opened with No. 15 UCF while the Cardinal battled for a win over then-No. 3 Akron.

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Here’s a look at the rest of the poll.

Rank School Total Points Prev w-L-t
1 Wake Forest (16) 727 4 2-0-0
2 Indiana (3) 708 2 2-0-0
3 Maryland (9) 682 1 1-1-0
4 Stanford (2) 671 5 2-0-0
5 Duke 596 10 2-0-0
6 Georgetown 563 13 2-0-0
7 Virginia 539 12 2-0-0
8 Saint Mary's 525 11 2-0-0
9 Kentucky 482 8 1-0-0
10 Virginia Tech 456 16 2-0-0
11 Notre Dame 429 9 1-0-0
12 Coastal Carolina 395 NR 2-0-0
13 Washington 364 RV 2-0-0
14 Xavier 335 NR 2-0-0
15 UCF 311 15 1-1-0
16 Michigan State 271 7 0-0-2
17 Charlotte 253 21 2-0-0
18 Florida Gulf Coast 202 NR 1-0-1
19 Clemson 185 RV 2-0-0
20 North Carolina 173 6 0-1-1
21 Akron 152 3 0-2-0
22 New Hampshire 125 RV 2-0-0
23 Connecticut 102 RV 1-0-0
24 West Virginia 84 23 1-1-0
25 Air Force 66 19 1-0-0

In addition to Maryland, former top-10 teams Akron and North Carolina entered tallies in the loss column while Michigan State nearly did as well.

The Zips dropped both of their matches to start the year, first losing a 2-0 contest to Xavier before conceding in the 89th minute of a 2-1 loss to Stanford. Akron tumbled 18 spots to No. 21.

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At the Carolina Nike Classic, UNC rallied for a 2-2 draw with Creighton. Two days later, the Tar Heels conceded two second-half goals to fall 2-1 against UCF — dropping the ‘Heels 14 spots to No. 20.

Michigan State, a preseason candidate to compete in the Big Ten, played to a scoreless draw with Southern Illinois – Edwardsville in its opener. Then, the Spartans escaped defeat with a 90th-minute penalty to equalize late against Florida Gulf Coast. Without registering a win, MSU falls from seventh to No. 16.

Biggest risers

There was no shortage of movement in the first regular season poll. Georgetown and Virginia Tech generated the most. The Hoyas rose seven spots and the Hokies jumped six to No. 6 and No. 10 respectively. Additionally, Duke and Virginia moved upward five places to No. 5 and No. 7.

But the biggest movement came from outside of the poll. Coastal Carolina enters as one of seven new teams this week.

The Chanticleers surged to No. 12 after wins over Oregon State and Portland despite not receiving any preseason votes. Xavier comes in at No. 14 days after upsetting then-No. 3 Akron. 

Dropped out

Louisville (14), James Madison (17), Denver (18), Portland (20), Oregon State (22), Michigan (24), UC Irvine (25)

Looking ahead

Wake Forest plays its first game at No. 1 on Friday against Dartmouth. It will be the programs' first meeting since 2008 — a 7-0 win for the Demon Deacons.

No. 9 Kentucky opens the new week on the road at Louisville. The Cardinals fell from No. 14 to the outskirts of the poll but could climb back in with a win over the defending Conference-USA champions on Tuesday.

Newly-ranked Coastal Carolina will play its third-consecutive ranked opponent to open the season when the Chanticleers visit No. 17 Charlotte on Friday. The 49ers have yet to allow a goal in 2019.

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