Each week, one of our NAIA writers will give us a run down of which teams are on the rise and which teams took a step back. Take a look at why the Aquinas Saints lead this week’s stock report:
Aquinas Ascending – NAIA Weekly Stock Report
The Aquinas Saints went 1-1 on the weekend but made a lot of positive buzz in the process. Winning in blowout fashion over Michigan-Dearborn holds significance; Aquinas beat Michigan-Dearborn much worse (21-5) than ranked teams Madonna & Concordia did. Couple that with the 13-11 nail-biting loss to No. 2 Indiana Tech, and Aquinas has some positive momentum on its side. The Aquinas offense, led by Mitch Haggart and Walker West, seems to be clicking at just the right time. Clayton Boerigter is also playing lights out in cage. He managed to come up with 24 saves against Indiana Tech.
Mid-Tier KCAC teams
We may have written Benedictine off to soon. After Benedictine opened the season with a tough loss to No. 2 Indiana Tech, it left many of us wondering if all of the off-season turnover may cause the team to take a slight step back this year. Well, I think we now have that answer, as BU has amassed four-straight conference victories, most recently beating William Penn, 17-9.
Speaking of William Penn, it had a season-altering upset victory just three days after the aforementioned loss. WPU played No. 9 Ottawa University on the road in what turned out to be a back-and-forth affair. The Statesmen came away with their first top-10 win in program history, 11-7.
I spoke with head coach Luke Christiansen after the game.
“The guys have continued to work hard all season, and we’ve seen steady improvement all season,” Christiansen said. “This is a milestone win in our first full season as a program that provides some great momentum as we enter the back half of conference play.”
With a favorable conference schedule remaining for W.P., it should end the season with a winning record and make the KCAC tournament.
Ottawa University started the season off on an absolute tear, winning its first four games. Since the hot start, it has lost three games in a row. Ottawa averaged 17 goals a game in its four wins, but it has fallen to just over 13 goals per game in its losses. Part of this stumble can be attributed to turnover problems, as Ottawa has had an astonishing 83 turnovers in its last three contest.
SCAD’s season may have just begun, but it already finds itself in a precarious situation. It fell on the road against fellow AAC team St. Andrews, 12-10. This loss could come back to haunt SCAD as it likely knocks the team out of the receiving votes category in the coaches poll. To make matters worse, the loss comes against a team that is also battling for a spot in the AAC tournament. With the top-three AAC teams (Reinhardt, Cumberlands, and Tennessee Wesleyan) all still left on the schedule, it would have been nice to beat St. Andrews and thus hold the tiebreaker over the team in case SCAD isn’t able to pull an upset over any of the top-three AAC teams.
Get Caught Up
For more NAIA content be sure to listen to the NAIA show on the Going Offsides podcast every Monday. You can also check out some of the most underappreciated men’s NAIA programs in the country.
Don’t forget to keep up with the stock reports throughout the season to mark the rise and fall of teams, leagues and narratives in 2021: