WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Midwestern State opens the 2016-17 season ranked 10th in the D2 Media Poll sponsored by D2SIDA preseason poll.
The Mustangs claimed decisive wins in each of their exhibition wins beating Science & Arts (Okla.) and Oklahoma City while shooting at least 50 percent in both victories including a 21-of-42 showing beyond the arc.
MSU is one of seven teams from the South Central Region to receive mention in the poll joining No. 6 Tarleton State, No. 19 Arkansas-Fort Smith, No. 20 Angelo State and No. 23 Fort Lewis (Colo.), while Colorado Mines and West Texas A&M are receiving votes.
Midwestern also heads into the season as the preseason favorites to win a 10th Lone Star Conference championship despite having no returning starters. It's the first time since the league departed the division format following the 2010-11 season that MSU was picked No. 1.
The Mustangs have claimed at least a share of four of the five LSC championships since the start of non-divisional play heading into the 2011-12 season posting a combined record of 121-36 (.770) including a 61-17 run (.782) in conference play.
MSU opens the season with the Rogers State Classic this weekend at the Claremore (Okla.) Expo Center. The Mustangs take on No. 19-ranked Arkansas-Fort Smith Friday at 5 p.m. before battling the host Hillcats Saturday at 4.
The Mustangs take on Adams State (Colo.) in the home opener Monday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Midwestern State closed out the final regular season rankings at No. 11 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division II poll Tuesday afternoon.
Midwestern State qualified for its 12th NCAA Tournament appearance Monday, earning the No. 2 seed in the South Central Region after a 16-3-1 record in the regular season. The Mustangs claimed their first-ever Heartland Conference regular season title and were runners-up in the league's postseason tournament to St. Edward's, who was awarded the No. 1 seed in the South Central Region.
The Mustangs will host their 10th NCAA Tournament contest Sunday against No. 3 Colorado Mesa at 1 p.m. at MSU Soccer Field.
St. Edward's led the region in the rankings this week, climbing six spots to No. 7 while MSU dropped three spots to fall out of the top 10. Colorado Mesa moved up one to No. 15 while the region's fourth seed Regis (Colo.) rounded out the national poll at No. 25.
Wingate remained atop the national rankings for the fourth-straight week and was followed by Simon Fraser (B.C.), Charleston (W. Va.), Lynn (Fla.), Rockhurst (Mo.), LIU Post (N.Y.), St. Edward's, Pfeiffer (N.C.), UC San Diego and Adelphi (N.Y.) in the top 10.
The winners of the two South Central Region contests will move on to play the regional final and national quarterfinals at the site of the highest remaining seed in the West Region, Nov. 17-20.