The Oglethorpe men's soccer team came in at No. 12 in the United Soccer Coaches Division III national poll this week, released Tuesday by the national organization of collegiate soccer coaches. In addition, Oglethorpe also came in at No. 2 in the South Atlantic regional poll conducted by the same organization.
The Stormy Petrels had an outstanding start to the season over the first two weekends, winning their first four games for the first time in the program's Division III history and starting undefeated in their first four for the first time since 2010. They didn't allow a goal over 180 minutes at the Seahawk Classic in St. Mary's City, Maryland, over the weekend, defeating host St. Mary's 2-0 and Salisbury 1-0. The weekend before that, they swept their games at Emory's Sonny Carter Invitational, defeating Pacific Lutheran 2-1 and North Carolina Wesleyan 4-1.
"I think this is a testament to the start we've had," said Oglethorpe head coach Jon Akin. "It's a long season and rankings come and go, but I think that a lot of this recognition has to do with how good we've been the last couple of years. We haven't made the NCAA tournament in that time, unfortunately, but we have started to gain a level of respect for our program, and that's exciting. That having been said, you can easily fall out of the rankings with just one loss, so we have to come out ready to play every game."
The Petrels sit just ahead of Wartburg and just behind St. Thomas (Minnesota) in the rankings. Tufts earned the top spot, while Calvin, Chicago, Trinity (Texas) and Oneonta rounded out the top five. In the regional poll, the Petrels sat behind only national No. 9 Washington and Lee. No. 17 Rutgers-Newark, No. 24 Rowan and Lynchburg rounded out the top five.
The Petrels will now return to campus for their home opener against Truett McConnell Wednesday at 5 p.m. After that, they'll remain in Atlanta for a Sunday afternoon showdown with Lynchburg, the 23rd-ranked team in the D3soccer.com poll.