The Crowder Roughriders’ 6-0 start to the season helped the ‘Riders advance 11 spots in the NJCAA Division I rankings to No. 9, the highest ranking for the Crowder men’s soccer program.

Crowder returns to action Friday and Sunday with road matches against Illinois schools Lewis & Clark (Godfrey) and Southwestern Illinois (Belleville).

Lewis & Clark and Southwestern are both schools that play in Region 24 (other schools are Heartland, Illinois Central, John Wood, Lincoln Land, and Parkland), and both are new to the Crowder soccer schedule.

The Trailblazers of Lewis & Clark are 3-2 overall entering their match against Crowder with three straight victories coming against Jefferson (5-3), Missouri Baptist (8-1), and Southeastern Iowa (3-2).

The Blue Storm of Southwestern Illinois were 1-6 entering their Thursday match against Lincoln Land and they play Region 16 foe Jefferson on the road a day before hosting Crowder.

The ‘Riders have netted 18 goals (three per match) and 13 different players have found the back of the net: Jacob Fallaize leads the way with three goals and Jason Puente has scored two, and then 11 players have contributed one goal: Ethan Stockdale, Santiago Sanchez, Danny Maldonado, Daniel Doherty, Ethan Merino, Sebastian Smeed, Thomas Horton, Nelson Barroso, Alejandro Balderas, Christian Marroquin, and Sebastian Sanchez.

Balderas leads the team with four assists, Puente has three, and Gabriel Amorim and Barroso each have two.

The ‘Riders have recorded three shutouts thus far and sophomore goalkeeper Santiago Garcia has proven highly reliable guarding the nets.

Crowder returns home Sept. 21 for the Region 16 opener against Jefferson. The ‘Riders are currently the only Region 16 team in the national rankings.