RMAC teams rate among best in nation

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Several of New Mexico Highlands University’s league rivals are rated among the elite teams in NCAA Division II.

Six of the top 10 women’s soccer teams in the region hail from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. No. 1 Metro State (11-1) visits Highlands this Sunday afternoon. The others are No. 3 Colorado School of Mines, No. 4 Fort Lewis, No. 5 Regis, No. 7 Mesa State and No. 9 Colorado Christian.

In the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, Nebraska-Kearney (20-1 overall) retained its fifth-place ranking. The Lopers, who swept NMHU this past Friday, trail only Concordia-St. Paul, California State-San Bernardino, California-San Diego and Central Pennsylvania. Concordia-St. Paul (a unanimous No. 1 again) and Cal State-San Bernardino are undefeated. The poll was released Monday by the AVCA headquarters in Lexington, Ky.

Joining UNK in the AVCA rankings is fellow RMAC school Metropolitan State College of Denver, 21st this week after rating 18th in the previous poll. The Roadrunners are 13-6.

With a 6-1 record, Nebraska-Kearney is the No. 2 football team in the region, as determined in a ranking released Monday by Ashley Dunigan of the NCAA Division II’s offices in Indianapolis. Minnesota Mankato (7-0) is the top team in the region. UNK, coming off a 52-3 defeat of NMHU this past Saturday, is the 16th ranked team in the country according to an American Football Coaches Association poll announced Monday by Vince Thompson of Waco, Texas. The Lopers jumped five spots from 21st in the previous AFCA poll.

Another RMAC football team, Colorado School of Mines, also received votes in the AFCA balloting and is unofficially ranked 39th.

Abilene Christian took over the top spot in the AFCA poll this week, running its record to 7-0 with a 38-14 win over No. 23 Angelo State (Texas). Previous No. 1 Grand Valley State was upset by another Michigan school, Hillsdale, 27-24 over the weekend.

Notably, Highlands has played three of the top 25 teams — UNK, No. 20 Washburn (Kan.) and No. 22 Midwestern State (Texas). The Cowboys will close the regular season with Colorado School of Mines Nov. 7 in Golden, Colo.