(Lexington, Kentucky) The Rivier University Men's Volleyball team climbed two spots to the #1 ranking in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) NCAA Division III Men's Top-15 Coached Poll in the third version of the weekly poll with 179 total points and seven first place votes.
Rivier (4-0, 0-0 GNAC) had the week off last week but was able to notch two big wins over their first four contests against two Top-15 teams. The Raiders took care of business on their home court during the 2014 Live Free or Die Invitational as they put an end to then #1 Springfield College's 30 game winning streak against D3 opponents. Rivier was able to score the four set win over the Pride a day before edging then #5 Baruch College in five sets.
"Obviously it's an honor and very exciting to make it to the #1 spot but we still have a lot of work to do and a long way to go to reach our goals for the season." Rivier's 18th year Head Coach Craig Kolek stated. "This doesn't do anything to change our mindset of being an underdog. We are the smallest university to ever reach #1 so we will enjoy the moment and then we will continue to work on getting better as a team. We are going to get every team's best game so we will need to rise to the challenge and do the same."
This week's installment of the AVCA Division III national poll had a few new wrinkles to it as Lakeland College, a first year varsity program at the NCAA Division III level, posted wins over then #15 Thiel College, then #11 Stevenson University and then #1 Juniata College over the weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio. With those wins, Lakeland went from unknown and unranked to the #8 team in the country along with earning two first place votes.
Springfield College also moved up two spots in the poll as they earned the #2 ranking with 177 points and two first place votes. Juniata and SUNY New Paltz are tied at #3 with each receiving a first place vote and 166 total points. Nazareth College rounds out the Top Five with 131 points.
This is the first time in the 20 year history of the Men's Volleyball program that the Raiders have earned the National #1 ranking.
Rivier will look to keep that top spot this week as they host Wentworth Institute of Technology tomorrow evening before heading out to the Springfield College Invitational this weekend. On Friday night they matchup for the first time this season with #3 SUNY New Paltz before battling #2 Springfield College and Bard College on Saturday afternoon.