STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - History keeps coming for the Mississippi State soccer team. For the first time in program history, the Bulldogs are among the top 25 teams in the RPI rankings.
The Bulldogs made their top-25 debut at No. 2 this week. Previously, MSU had climbed as high as No. 37 in the RPI during the 2017 season before closing the year at No. 45.
The RPI (Rating Percentage Index) evaluates wins and losses as well as a team's strength of schedule. Only Texas A&M placed higher among SEC teams, taking the top spot. The Bulldogs have already played two top-15 teams in Auburn and Memphis.
State has received votes in the United Soccer Coaches' poll in each of the past three weeks. This week's poll will be released on Tuesday. The Bulldogs have never been ranked.
"Obviously, this is a historic day for our program, posting our highest RPI ever," head coach Tom Anagnost said. "However, it's only a step on the way to our bigger goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time."
MSU won all seven of its non-conference matches for just the third time in program history and tied the school record with an eight-game winning streak dating back to the final match of 2017. The Bulldogs are the third-highest-scoring team in the SEC, averaging 2.88 goals per game.
The Maroon and White has already recorded six shutouts, which puts redshirt senior Rhylee DeCrane in a tie for second in the Bulldogs' single-season record book. DeCrane is tied for third in the nation.
"I'm proud of what our team has accomplished so far this season, but that is the past," Anagnost said. "We are into SEC play now, the competition is much stiffer and we are focused on getting better from our last game. We play a final four team and the defending SEC champion in South Carolina on Thursday, and that is the next opportunity for us."
The Bulldogs will host No. 15/6 South Carolina on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. CT. Fans are encouraged to help break the program attendance record set at last year's home opener against Stephen F. Austin. The team will be giving away free pizza and t-shirts along with double Hail State Rewards points.
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