LOUISVILLE, Ky. – An unbeaten weekend at the Eagle Round Robin in Statesboro, Ga., has allowed Tennessee to maintain its hold on No. 1 in the initial USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll of the 2014 regular season.
The Lady Vols received 19 of 32 possible first-place votes, expanding their advantage over No. 2 from nine to 13 total points. During their stay in Statesboro, Ga., UT was 4-0 with victories over Northern Colorado (8-0 in 5 inn., 8-3), host Georgia Southern (1-0) and Oakland (14-3).
Florida leapt from fourth in the preseason into the No. 2 slot by virtue of an impressive 6-0 effort at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament in Tampa, Fla. The Gators garnered 11 first-place nods from the voting committee after registering triumphs against No. 5 Michigan (9-4 in 8 inn.), No. 25 USF (10-3), Wisconsin (5-3 and 5-1), Illinois State (3-2) and Bethune Cookman (8-0 in 5 inn.).
Washington held steady in third and picked up two first-place votes by posting a 5-0 mark with impressive wins over then-No. 18 Baylor (7-4) and Arkansas (6-1) at the UNLV/Sportco Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. No. 4 Alabama (5-0) and No. 5 Arizona State (6-0) each rose two slots in the new rankings following unbeaten opening weekend efforts. The Crimson Tide rolled through the Troy Subway Invite (Troy, Ala.), while the Sun Devils swept through their home-hosted Kajikawa Classic (Tempe, Ariz.).
Michigan (3-1) dropped one spot to sixth, while Kentucky (5-0) made the largest move of any current top 10 squad, leaping five slots into the No. 7 position. During their perfect weekend at the Mizuno Invite in Long Beach, Calif., the Wildcats secured a huge win over then-No. 2 and defending national champion Oklahoma, 5-4 (10 inn.). Texas A&M improved three positions to eighth after winning all five of its match-ups at the Gaucho Classic in Santa Barbara, Calif., while Nebraska (3-1) and Oregon (4-1) rounded out the top 10 in ninth and 10th, respectively.
With the exit of preseason No. 21 UAB (1-3) and No. 25 USF (1-2), two new teams were added to the latest USA Today/NFCA listing. Minnesota went 5-0 and defeated then-No. 17 LSU at the Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge, La., to enter this week at No. 22. Following its rare absence from the national rankings, Arizona returned to the poll at No. 24 on the strength of a three-game home sweep of Southern Miss (9-0 in 5 inn., 14-2 in 5 inn., 12-0 in 5 inn.).
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.