The Iowa Conference’s premier men’s soccer rivalry will be one of the feature games in the nation this weekend.
Loras (12-2-1, 5-0-0) hosts Wartburg (10-2-4, 4-0-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with the league title likely on the line. The Duhawks are ranked No. 8 in the latest NSCAA coaches poll, the Knights 13th.
Wartburg needs a win to vault Loras in the standings, while the Duhawks need only a tie to remain in first, and a win to clinch the championship with one match remaining.
The teams, winners or co-winners of every IIAC title but 2011 since 2003, tied for the IIAC crown last season along with Luther, which is ranked 20th in this week’s rankings. Loras beat Luther 2-1 on Saturday, the Knights won 2-1 Oct. 1.
Loras is also No. 8 in the new d3soccer.com poll, while Luther (12-2-1) is No. 19 and Wartburg is receiving votes, nine spots outside the top 25.
Messiah (14-0-1) is still No. 1 in both polls, but there was shifting in the rest of the top five. Trinity (Texas) (15-1-0), Brandeis (14-1-0), Oneonta State (12-0-2) and Kenyon (12-1-0) round out the NSCAA top five. Those four teams are ranked Nos. 3-6 in the d3soccer.com version as Franklin and Marshall (13-0-1) holds the No. 2 spot.
The IIAC trio are still the top three teams in the NSCAA North Region rankings. St. Olaf (10-3-1) moved up one spot to No. 4, flipping with Gustavus Adolphus (10-4-1).
Luther (12-2-0) remained No. 5 in the NSCAA North Region rankings and Dubuque (12-4-0), which beat Wartburg in OT Saturday, is No. 7. Wis.-Whitewater (14-2-0) is the new No. 1 and is ranked 13th nationally. No. 2 Lake Forest (17-0-0) is ranked 18th in the nation, while previous region No. 1 Concordia-Moorhead (11-2-1) fell 12 spots to No. 24 nationally and two spots to No. 3 regionally.