LOUISVILLE, Ky. – This week’s vote wasn’t quite unanimous, but it was close as Florida (21-0) received 30 of 32 possible first-place nods to maintain firm hold over the No. 1 position in the March 4th edition of the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll.
On what proved to be a weather-plagued weekend throughout much of the U.S., the Gators extended their season-opening winning streak to 21 straight contests at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando, Fla. UF prevailed in a high-profile match-up over then-No. 4 Oregon (2-1 in 8 inn.) before adding triumphs over Fordham (9-2), Ohio State (9-1 in 6 inn.), Maryland (16-0 in 5 inn.) and Radford (7-0).
Despite suffering the razor-thin defeat against Florida, Oregon (18-2) utilized a strong effort at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic to climb from fourth to No. 2 in the latest rankings. The Ducks earned triumphs over then-No. 25 Auburn (3-0), Bradley (2-0), Maryland (10-2 in 5 inn.) and Illinois State (2-0).
A 6-3 loss to BYU at the rain-plagued San Diego Classic in San Diego, Calif., ended Tennessee’s (15-1) perfect start to the 2014 campaign. As a result, the Lady Vols, despite earning a single first-place nod, dropped a spot to third.
Weather issues at the Long Beach Classic in Long Beach, Calif., wreaked havoc on the schedules for both UCLA (16-0) and Michigan (13-2), but both squads still managed to rise a single position this week to fourth and fifth, respectively.
Washington (16-2) advanced a slot to sixth after going 3-0 last week at the Libby Matson Tournament in Stockton, Calif. Five straight victories within the friendly confines of Hillenbrand Stadium helped Arizona (18-1) continue its rapid ascension of the polls as the ‘Cats leapt from 10th to seventh.
No. 8 Kentucky (16-2) and No. 9 Florida State (18-2) held steady, while consecutive defeats to then-No. 19 Minnesota (2-3) and Ball State (0-3) at the Louisville Slugger Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., resulted in Arizona State’s (19-3) plummeting seven slots from third to 10th.
Auburn dropped out of the No. 25 position following a 4-2 effort that included tough losses against then-No. 9 Florida State (4-5) and then-No. 4 Oregon (0-3). The Tigers’ exit allowed for the entrance of USC Upstate (19-0) at No. 25. The national ranking marks just the second time the Spartans have ever been listed in the USA Today/NFCA Division I poll with the last occurrence coming at No. 24 back on April 9, 2013.
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.
To view the complete USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll, please click this LINK.