The Urbana University men’s soccer team made history on Tuesday, becoming what is believed to be the first UU athletics team nationally ranked. The Blue Knights were voted No. 23 in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Top 25 Poll, announced by the organization Tuesday afternoon.
UU (5-1-1, 3-1 MEC) also jumped a spot in the Atlantic Region, moving to No. 3 and one spot ahead of rival No. 25 Notre Dame College. The top four spots in each region earn a national tournament bid.
The Blue Knights have won five straight matches and are off to the program’s best start in nine years.
Plenty of work remains, according to eighth-year head coach Nick Roberts.
“Obviously, it’s still early in the season but we are excited about where we are as a program,” Roberts said. “There is still plenty of work to do and we have some tough competition left on the schedule. We’re focusing on one match at a time, starting with Shepherd on Wednesday.”
The Blue Knights are looking to continue their run deep into the postseason, and already have a signature win over then-ranked No. 7 Notre Dame College. UU defeated its conference rival on Sept. 20 by a score of 3-2. The two teams will meet again on Oct. 6 in Euclid, Ohio.
Senior Mike McFarlane leads the Blue Knights with a career-high five goals, four of which are headers.
Junior captain Nate jones, this week’s Mountain East Conference Defensive Player of the Week, has been steady in goal with 22 saves and 0.64 goals-against average.
UU welcomes Shepherd to UU Stadium today for a 3:30 p.m. match.