LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Defending national champion Tufts University continues to be the unanimous selection as the top-ranked team in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III softball rankings.

The Jumbos, who went 46-3 last season en route to the program’s first national title, return three of the four players selected to the NCAA Division III World Series All-Tournament Team, including pitcher Allyson Fournier, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, catcher Jo Clair and outfielder Michelle Cooprider. They open the season on Saturday with games against Ramapo and Southern Maine.

Montclair State (2-0), meanwhile, continues as the No. 2-ranked team, starting its year with a 2-0 win over Illinois Wesleyan and an 8-0 five-inning victory over Mitchell College.

Third-ranked Salisbury (10-0) added six wins since last week to maintain its place in the poll, while Central (Iowa) is now alone in fourth and poised to start its season with two games Friday.

Cortland (2-0), the 2013 NCAA runner-up, drops to fifth after being tied for fourth last week before its season started with victories over Waynesburg and Marietta, while 2010 national champion East Texas Baptist (12-1) suffered its first defeat but also won twice to remain sixth, and Luther (6-0) added two triumphs to stay seventh.

Virginia Wesleyan (12-0) also won twice to continue at No. 8, while ninth-ranked Emory (20-0) tacked four wins onto its unblemished record and Texas-Tyler (14-1) had three more victories to round out the top 10 teams.

Linfield (10-0) and Lebanon Valley (7-0) made the biggest jump of the week, each up two places to No. 11 and No. 15, respectively, while Augustana (8-2) fell five places to 19th.

Louisiana College (12-1), Muhlenberg (7-1) and Illinois Wesleyan (1-1) joined the poll, while Anderson (0-0), Cal Lutheran (10-4), Capital (6-2), Washington College (4-0) and Wisconsin-Eau Claire (3-1) all dropped out of the rankings.

The NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll is selected by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions. Records as of Monday are listed, with first-place votes in parentheses.

To view the complete NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll, please click here

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