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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Back-to-back national champion Florida was selected the unanimous No. 1 program in the final 2015 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll, announced Tuesday by the Association.

 

The Gators (60-7) garnered all 32 first-place votes after a second consecutive Women’s College World Series title. Florida won the bookend games over Michigan in a thrilling three-game WCWS finals and finished with 60 wins for the first time since the 2009 squad went 63-5. Powered by the arm and the bat of USA Softball Player of the Year and WCWS Most Outstanding Player Lauren Haeger, the No. 1 seeded Gators went 3-0 to reach their fourth final series with victories over SEC foes Tennessee (7-2), LSU (4-0) and Auburn (3-2 in 9 inn.).

A 3-2 nailbiter in the opener put UF one win away, but Michigan responded with 1-0 old school pitchers duel triumph in the fastest (94 minutes) finals game since 2002. However, the Gators scored early in game three and did not look back in a 4-1 victory to claim the program’s second national championship. 

The runner-up Wolverines (60-8) received all 32 second-place nods to finish the season at No. 2, their highest finish since No. 1 in 2005. As with Florida, Michigan went a perfect 3-0 on its way  to its first national title series since winning the 2005 championship. The third-seeded Wolverines defeated Alabama (5-0), UCLA (10-4) and LSU (6-3) to earn their title shot against the Gators.

A pair of Tigers, national semifinalists Auburn and LSU, finished the season ranked third and fourth. AU (56-11) culminated a record-breaking season by posting a 2-2 mark at its first WCWS. After falling to LSU (1-6) in the opener, Auburn defeated Tennessee, 4-2, and UCLA, 11-10, in a four-plus hour 10-inning affair for the right to face Florida. In the first matchup of the season between the two SEC foes, the Tigers pushed the Gators to the limit before falling in nine innings, 23-2.

LSU (52-14) reached the semifinals for the first times since 2004 and the 50-win plateau since a 55-12 mark in 2007. The Tigers topped Auburn (6-1) in their opener before falling to the eventual champion Gators (5-0). LSU bounced back with a 5-1 elimination game win over SEC rival Alabama (5-1), but was eliminated by Wolverines (6-3) in the semifinals.

Rounding out the top five is UCLA. The Bruins (51-12) opened  with a 7-1 victory over Pac-12 rival and No. 2 seed Oregon, but dropped their next two contests to Michigan (4-10) and Auburn (10-11) in 10-inning marathon.

The final three WCWS participants Alabama (48-15), Oregon (51-8) and Tennessee (47-17) completed the final top eight teams in the country. Oklahoma (49-9) and Florida State (49-14), who fell in the Super Regionals to Alabama and Tennessee rounded out the top 10.

Returning to the poll at No. 17 is Kentucky (32-26) and at No. 19 North Carolina State (38-22). The Wildcats and Wolfpack reached the Super Regionals, but were swept by Florida and Oregon, respectively.

The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.  Current 2015 records are shown and first-place votes are in parentheses.

-- Photo courtesy of Tim Casey

USA Today/NFCA Division I Softball Poll – June 9, 2015 (Final)

Rank

Team

2015 Record

Totals

Prev. Rank

1

Florida (32)

60-7

800

2

2

Michigan

60-8

768

3

3

Auburn

56-11

723

4

4

LSU

52-14

712

8

5

UCLA

51-12

661

7

6

Alabama

48-15

644

5

7

Oregon

51-8

614

1

8

Tennessee

47-17

579

10

9

Oklahoma

49-9

533

6

10

Florida State

49-14

499

9

11

Louisiana Lafayette

42-12

464

11

12

Georgia

44-17

428

14

13

Arizona

41-20

407

16

14

Missouri

42-16

393

12

15

Minnesota

49-11

313

15

16

UCF

50-9

285

13

17

Kentucky

32-26

254

RV

18

Baylor

41-17

242

18

19

North Carolina State

38-22

215

NR

20

Arizona State

36-22

165

23

21

Washington

42-17

145

20

22

James Madison

48-10

116

17

t23

South Alabama

40-13

78

22

t23

California

39-18

78

19

t25

t25

 

Notre Dame

North Dakota State

42-15

45-11

71

71

21

25

New to Poll: No. 17 Kentucky, No. 19 North Carolina State

Dropped out: No. 24 Texas A&M

Others Receiving Votes: Texas A&M (56), Western Kentucky (20), Florida Atlantic (13), Utah (13), Hofstra (12), Pittsburgh (11), USC Upstate (6), Kansas (6), North Carolina (3), Mississippi State (1).

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