Midwestern State came in fifth in the latest South Central Region rankings released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Tuesday afternoon.
The Mustangs dropped out of the national rankings from No. 24 following a 1-1 weekend at home that included a 3-0 win over Texas Woman's and a 1-0 defeat to No. 11 Texas A&M-Commerce. The Lions also moved out of the national poll after a 3-0 loss to TWU.
Colorado Mines topped the regional poll for the fifth-straight week, ranking seventh in the national poll with a 9-1-0 record. St. Edward's, Dallas Baptist, Texas A&M-Commerce and Midwestern State round out the top five in the regional poll.
Midwestern State returns to MSU Soccer Field this weekend for Lone Star Conference matchups against West Texas A&M and Eastern New Mexico. The Mustangs first face off against the Lady Buffs on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before taking on the Greyhounds on Sunday at 1 p.m.
After an undefeated weekend at home, Midwestern State climbed seven spots to No. 18 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division II poll this week.
The Mustangs improved to 7-2-1 overall and 5-1-0 in the Heartland Conference to currently sit in a tie for first place in the league with No. 8 St. Edward's. The Hilltoppers and Mustangs come in second and third, respectively, in the South Central Region rankings behind No. 5 Regis (Colo.), who is off to an 8-0-1 start to the season.
Midwestern State earned a pair of conference wins last weekend at the MSU Soccer Field, defeating Texas A&M International, 2-0, and St. Mary's, 4-0. The Mustangs offense featured five different goal scorers on the weekend, scoring five of their six goals in the second half.
Rockhurst (Mo.) remained in the No. 1 spot in the national poll for the second-straight week and was followed by Simon Fraser (B.C.), Charleston (W. Va.), LIU Post (N.Y.), Regis, Wingate (N.C.), Tampa (Fla.), St. Edward's, Limestone (S.C.) and Tusculum (Tenn.) in the top 10.
Midwestern State continues conference play this weekend on the road against Lubbock Christian and UT Permian Basin.
Erin Richburg recorded a team-high 11 kills and 14 assists for her third career double-double to help Midwestern State snap a three-match losing skid in a 3-0 non-conference sweep of Southern Nazarene Tuesday evening at the Sawyer Center.
Midwestern State (8-8) grabbed a 7-1 lead in the opening set with Kiley Beaver and Aerielle Edwards combining for six kills to force an early SNU timeout. Out of the break, Southern Nazarene put together a 9-1 run to take a 10-8 advantage on the Mustangs. With the Crimson Storm holding a 14-11 lead, the Mustangs went on a 6-0 spurt to go back in front. Once SNU evened the set at 17-all, teams traded points the rest of the way with the Crimson Storm reaching set point at 24-23. A pair of kills for Edwards fended off two set points before Edwards and Richburg posted back-to-back kills to give MSU the set at 28-26.
The Mustangs overcame an early three-point deficit in set two to go point-for-point with the Crimson Storm for a majority of the frame. A 3-0 Midwestern run broke a 16-16 tie before the Maroon and Gold grabbed a 24-19 lead after a kill by Sarah Garfield. SNU held off four set points to pull within one before Richburg gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead with a 25-23 win.
It was another close set in the third with MSU's three-point advantage on two occasions being the largest of the frame. A service ace for Edwards put the Mustangs ahead at 17-14 before a 5-0 SNU run propelled the Crimson Storm in front. A block for Kassidy Oberhelman capped off a 3-0 MSU spurt to give the Mustangs a 21-20 lead and force an SNU timeout. Midwestern stretched its lead to two after kills for Edwards and Beaver before an SNU attack error earned MSU the sweep at 25-23.
Midwestern State showed determination while surging to a runner-up showing with a flourish over the final five holes in the West Texas A&M Invitational played at the par-72, 6,000-yard Tascosa Country Club La Paloma Course.
"We were really solid today," MSU coach Jeff Ray said. "We played the last five holes as a team in 2-under par."
The Mustangs rode the momentum of the second-best team round of the tournament with an 11-over 299 to leapfrog West Texas A&M, Redlands (Okla.) and Newman (Kan.) to take second just eight strokes behind St. Mary's (Texas) which carded rounds of 315 and 296 for a 35-over team total of 611.
MSU battled a strong wind throughout the later holes of the opening round on Monday to card a 32-over 320, but were 21 strokes better in the final round.
"The wind blew today, but it was a normal wind today," Ray said.
Senior Sierra Campbell earned all-tournament honors finishing with in a tie for second on the individual leader board with a 4-over 76 in the final round after firing a team-best 75 in the opening round for a total of 151 (+7). She finished four strokes behind individual titlist Emily Coleman of Redlands (Okla.).
"Every time you tee it up, Sierra is going to go out and compete," Ray said.
Campbell, however, had plenty of help from her teammates in Tuesday's second round.
Freshman Cheleen Cousins fired in three birdies on her way to a 2-over 74. The Frisco Liberty High product played the final 27 holes of the tourney at 4-over to finish tied for 10th with an 11-over total of 155.
"Cheleen had a great tournament," Ray said. "She was really solid and is going to get better and better."
Junior Sarah Moore carded consecutive birdies on the eighth and ninth holes to go along with 12 pars in the final round to match Cousins with a 2-over 74. The Burkburnett native tied for 12th with a 12-over total of 156.
"This was one of Sarah's best ball striking days since she's been here," Ray said.
Senior Hayley Dambold logged 14 pars and played the back nine in 1-under on her way to a second round 3-over 75 to tie for 18th with a 13-over total of 157.
"Hayley stuck with it and gave us a great score today with a strong finish," Ray said. "It's a good sign for us when Sierra shoots a 76 and we finish with a 299 as a team."
Senior Kellie Martin delivered a solid 7-over 79 to tie for 38th with a 19-over total of 163, while sophomore May Chimsuti logged scores of 86 and 79 to tie for 44th with a 21-over total of 165.
Midwestern State competes in the Dallas Baptist Classic next Monday and Tuesday at The Golf Club of Dallas.