WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A 20-match unbeaten streak, a second straight Heartland Conference title and the league postseason tournament championship pushed Midwestern State to the top of the United Soccer Coaches' Division II national poll.
The Mustangs are No. 1 for the sixth time in program history and for the first time since spending one week at the top spot in 2015. It's the first time the storied program heads into the postseason as the nation's top target.
Midwestern appeared at the top of the poll for three weeks during the 2008 season (Oct. 21-Nov. 4). MSU first took the No. 1 spot back on Sept. 24, 1984 after opening the season 5-0-0 following a 9-2 win over TCU.
The Mustangs (18-0-2) finished off their fourth unbeaten regular season and extended the unbeaten streak to 20 matches by claiming the Heartland Conference postseason title with wins over Texas A&M International and St. Edward's last weekend at Stang Park.
Midwestern opens NCAA postseason play with a South Central Region semifinal matchup against Colorado Mesa Sunday afternoon at Stang Park. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
With a win, the Mustangs would host the next two rounds which included the South Central and West region title games followed by the national quarterfinal.
The winner advances to the national semifinals set for Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Kan. from Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
Midwestern State takes over the No. 1 spot following losses by last week's top two sides. Former No. 1 Charleston (S.C.) fell to West Virginia Wesleyan in the Mountain East Conference title match, while No. 2 Palm Beach Atlantic fell to Rollins (Fla.) in the Sunshine State Conference semifinals.
Both remained in the top five was filled out by No. 2 California Baptist, No. 3 Charleston, No. 4 LIU-Post (N.Y.) and No. 5 Palm Beach Atlantic.
MSU are joined by South Central Region foes Colorado School of Mines, St. Edward's (Texas) and Colorado Mesa at Nos. 8, 14 and 19, respectively.
Midwestern State brought the power from the outside and school record fell in the middle as the Mustangs quashed a three-game slide with a five-set in over Dallas Baptist Tuesday night at Burg Center.
Aerielle Edwards, who played MSU's libero act all season, proved her swing was still lethal as the senior matched fellow senior Meghan Bettis with a match-high and career-best 23 kills for both women.
The pair of 23-kill efforts were the most by any MSU since Krissa Johnson had 23 against Southern Indiana back in 2007.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs won the one-on-one battles throughout the match posting a single-game team record of 13 solo blocks as senior Addison Semer tied the individual single-game best with six solo stuffs originally set by Candice Main in 2005.
The teams exchanged momentum in the opening four sets with the Mustangs taking sets one and three by scores of 25-17 and 25-16, while Dallas Baptist took the even-numbered sets by margins of 25-17 and 27-25.
MSU and Dallas Baptist battled through five ties and two lead changes in the decisive set as Semer's sixth solo block of the night staved off one of two DBU match points at 14-13.
The Mustangs put off another match point with Bettis' 23rd kill at 15-14 before taking control on freshman Raven Presley's fourth solo block of the night to give MSU the only match point it would need.
Semer put away the game match to end the night with nine kills and six blocks -- all solo.
Edwards finished a monster performance with 23 kills and match-high 20 digs for the Mustangs, while senior libero Leah Lychock had 19 digs.
Midwestern (14-15) continued to quest of winning season with a pair of Lone Star Conference matches later this week at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. The Mustangs take on Cameron Thursday night at 6 p.m. before playing Texas A&M-Kingsville for Senior Night Friday beginning at 7.
Sidnee Jo Fitzpatrick had 13 kills to lead Dallas Baptist which fell to 10-15.
Midwestern State closes out the season with matches at home against Cameron Thursday at 6 p.m. and Texas A&M-Kingsville Friday night at 7. The Mustangs honor seniors Kristan Aduddell, Leah Lychock, Aerielle Edwards, Meghan Bettis and Addison Semer prior to the match on Friday.