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Eagles 5th in conference, 162nd in Division II in preseason rankings

Matt McLain (above) and the OC Eagles are ranked fifth among Heartland Conference schools in the preseason Bennett Rankings for Division II men's soccer.
Matt McLain (above) and the OC Eagles are ranked fifth among Heartland Conference schools in the preseason Bennett Rankings for Division II men's soccer.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 8, 2013) – According to a college rankings website, Oklahoma Christian will have the fifth-best men’s soccer team in the Heartland Conference during the upcoming season and is No. 162 among all NCAA Division II squads.

The Eagles will open the 2013 campaign on Sept. 5 at longtime rival Southern Nazarene. OC is coming off a season in which it finished 8-9 overall, including a 7-7 mark against conference opponents.

The BennettRank College Soccer preseason rankings are touted on the BennettRank website as being “100 percent computer model-driven and derived from the analysis of over 12,000 games played during the 2012 season.” The rankings’ “proprietary algorithms weigh each team’s historical performance directly related to all other teams in their individual divisions and conferences.”

Unlike the Heartland Conference, which has chosen to exclude from its preseason polls its four members who are in the Division II membership process, the BennettRank service includes all 10 conference teams as it ranks all 207 Division II men’s squads.

The highest-ranked Heartland team in the rankings is St. Edward’s (Texas) at No. 70. St. Edward’s won the conference regular-season title in 2012.

Last season’s conference runner-up, Texas A&M International, is the second-highest-rated Heartland team, checking in at No. 86. Two new Heartland teams which spent last season in the NAIA’s Sooner Athletic Conference – Lubbock Christian (Texas) and Rogers State – are at No. 155 and No. 156, respectively.

OC, which would have finished third in the Heartland last season had the Eagles’ games counted in the standings, is at No. 162 overall.

The other five Heartland teams were ranked behind OC – Newman at No. 167, McMurry (Texas) at No. 184, St. Mary’s (Texas) at No. 187, Dallas Baptist (Texas) at No. 195 and Texas-Permian Basin at No. 197. The website ranked the Heartland last among the 21 Division II soccer conferences.

The No. 1 overall team is West Texas A&M, a squad OC will host on Oct. 10.