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Missouri Baptist's Isidora Stojovic

Missouri Baptist junior Isidora Stojovic delivers a kill in a recent match against nationally ranked Vittero University of Wisconsin. The Spartans, who've won 12 consecutive matches, have moved into the top spot in the latest NAIA rankings, marking their first No. 1 ranking since November of 2015. (Photo by Collin Kossakoski, Missouri Baptist)

With early-season victories over No. 3 Grand View of Iowa, No. 5 Viterbo of Wisconsin, No. 8 Midland of Nebraska and No. 9 Lindsey Wilson of Kentucky, the volleyball program at Missouri Baptist University has jumped to No. 1 in the latest NAIA ranking.

It’s the third time in school history the Spartans have been No. 1 and the first since November 2015, when they were ranked first in back-to-back weeks heading into the national championships. They finished as runner-up to American Midwest Conference rival Columbia College that year.

The powerful AMC also includes defending national champion Park University of Kansas City. In these rankings, Park slipped from No. 1 to No. 3 while Columbia fell from No. 2 to No. 12.

Earlier this week, the AMC announced a clean sweep of weekly awards for Missouri Baptist: senior Caterina Cigarini, a returning All-American, was named attacker of the week, with sophomore Morgan Berry as setter of the week and junior Ariana Macies, of Argentina, as defender of the week.

Last week, Berry was honored as the league’s top setter, while junior Giovanna Tapigliani was named the league’s top attacker.

Tapigliani, from Brazil, leads the squad in points (155.5) and kills (127), but Italy’s Cigarini (110 points, 90 kills), Serbia’s Isidora Stojovic (131.5 points, 109 kills), Windsor High product Katie Duncan (123 points, 110 kills) and Brazil’s Marina Sanches (106.5 points, 87 kills) are right there, too.

Berry leads the squad with a whopping 474 assists.

Missouri Baptist (12-3) opened the season with losses to Oklahoma City, Central Methodist and University of Mobile, but hasn’t lost since. In winning their last 12 matches, the Spartans have won 36 games while dropping just five.

Missouri Baptist opens AMC play on the road Tuesday against William Woods before returning home to host Ottawa University of Kansas at 7 p.m. Thursday.

UMSL ADDS TRACK, CROSS COUNTRYThe University of Missouri-St. Louis will begin offering cross country and track and field for men and women this season. Steve Picucci will serve as head coach.

The additions, which will also include indoor track and field, will increase UMSL’s varsity sports to 19. The teams will compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

UMSL sponsored a men’s cross country team from 1967 to 1983.

“We are excited about being able to provide additional opportunities to compete in intercollegiate athletics at UMSL,” athletics director Lori Flanagan said.

Flanagan plans to implement a five-year plan that will first cater to distance runners and then focus on the addition of athletes to compete in shorter distances and in field events.

Picucci comes to UMSL from Moorhead State, where he spent five years as head cross country and track and field coach.

“It’s an honor to be selected the first-ever head coach for cross country and track and field at the University of Missouri-St. Louis,” Picucci said. “I am excited to build the program from the ground up, and while I know it will take time, I am confident we can build highly competitive programs in the GLVC and Midwest Region in the near future.”

HONOR ROLL• Lindenwood’s Austin Crowe, a senior from Timberland High, was named the first Great Lakes Valley Conference runner of the week after winning the 6,000-meter Dog & Cat Fight race at Truman State. His time was 19 minutes, 58.32 seconds.

• Southern Indiana junior Maggie Winter (Nerinx Hall) was named GLVC offensive soccer player of the week. She picked up an unassisted goal in a season-opening 5-0 win over Purdue University Northwest and capped the week with two goals and an assist in a 4-0 win over Walsh University.

• Truman State junior Lawrence Woods (McCluer South Berkeley) was named GLVC special teams player of the week. In a 10-7 victory at Drake, Woods opened the second half with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. That was after blocking a field goal attempt in the second quarter and finishing the game with a team-high eight tackles, including seven solos.

With his fifth career return TD, Woods set records for both Truman State and the GLVC.

• The Missouri State women’s cross country squad finished second to Wichita State at the recent J.K. Gold Classic in Augusta, Kan. Among the Bears’ top finishers was junior Grace Breiten (Lafayette), who finished eighth.

• SIUE’s Savannah Christian, a redshirt freshman from Washington High, was named Ohio Valley Conference newcomer of the week in volleyball. She was named MVP of SIU Carbondale’s Saluki Bash after leading the Cougars with 34 kills, nine blocks and a .400 hitting percentage.

In their first tourney win since 2017, the Cougars beat Southeastern Louisiana, the host Salukis and Alabama A&M in the tournament.

• Lindenwood senior Josefina Haupt was selected the first GLVC golfer of the week this fall after earning medalist honors and helping the Lions win the Screaming Eagle Classic at the University of Southern Indiana. Haupt carded a two-over-par score of 146 to win the 77-player, two-day event.

The Lions’ McKenna Montgomery, a senior from Westminster Christian, placed third, while freshman Noella Rodriguez Chicate was fourth.

• The ninth-ranked Washington University women’s golf team won the Rhodes Classic in Memphis as senior Samantha Haubenstock and freshman Annie Mascot each shot 139, breaking the two-round school record. Senior Emily Carnes finished fifth and also earned all-tourney honors.

Joining Haubenstock as all-league choices by the University Athletic Association were Bears’ men’s soccer defender Alistair Shaw; senior quarterback Johnny Davidson, who completed 26 of 38 passes for 341 yards and a career-high five TDs; and senior linebacker Jarrod Huther, who had 15 tackles, including two for loss, and a forced fumble in a 43-7 win at the University of Chicago.

• Webster University’s Zac Ciesla became the second Gorlok in as many weeks to earn St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference golfer of the week, joining last week’s winner, Will Hocker. It was the fourth such career honor for Ciesla, who was co-medalist at last weekend’s Tim Kopka Memorial Tournament hosted by Carthage College. He shot a 5-under-par 137 to tie Illinois Wesleyan’s Rob Ruethrich for medalist honors.

• Webster University senior Savannah Page repeated as SLIAC women’s soccer player of the week after scoring three goals and adding an assist in the Gorloks’ 6-3 win over Elmhurst in the team’s home opener. Page leads Webster this season with five goals and two assists.

• With Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s 45-20 victory over UMass last week, the Missouri Valley Football Conference has a streak of at least one win over Football Bowl Subdivision teams in each of the last 10 seasons.

It was SIUC’s fourth-ever win over an FBS opponent and its first since 2007.

In the victory, Salukis freshman running back Javon Williams scored three touchdowns. He touched the ball nine times overall, totaling 171 yards (68 rushing, 103 receiving). He tied the school record for longest reception by a running back, scoring on an 85-yard pass, and added a 64-yard TD run.