LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Coming off a historical season and the program’s first national championship, the University of North Alabama was unanimously voted the No. 1 team in the 2017 NFCA Division II Top 25 Preseason Coaches Poll, announced the Association on Wednesday morning.
Collecting all 16 first-place votes and 400 points, the Lions capped their record-setting campaign with a 60-7 record and the 2016 NCAA Division II national title. Under the guidance of head coach Ashley Cozart, UNA defeated preseason No. 2 Humboldt State in the three-game championship series. Also picked unanimously to win the Gulf South Conference, the Lions rebounded from a game-one loss with 10-1 and 4-1 triumphs over the Jacks (54-8-1).
Humboldt State (384 points), returned to the NCAA Championship Tournament for the first time since 2013 and made its sixth overall appearance. It was the two-time national champions second runner-up finish.
The rest of the NCAA Championship field makes up the No. 3 through No. 8 spots in the poll. National semifinalists Armstrong State (43-15 / 362)) and Southern Arkansas (53-11 / 343) grab rank third and fifth, sandwiching No. 4 with West Texas A&M (59-5 / 346).
Coming out of the Midwest Region as a four seed, Grand Valley State (43-13 / 312) is ranked No. 6, while the back-to-back Championship participant Adelphi (35-22 / 297) comes in at No. 7.
Atlantic Region champions University of Charleston (50-12 / 265) and Super Regional participants University of North Georgia (54-8 / 265) follow at No. 8. Another Super Regional participant Wayne State University (50-10 / 237) rounds out the top 10.
The Gulf South Conference and Great Lakes Valley Conference lead the way with three representatives in the preseason poll. The Great American Conference, Peach Belt Conference, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Mountain East have two programs apiece. The California Collegiate Athletic Association, Lone Star Conference, Heartland Conference, Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Pacific West Conference, South Atlantic Conference, Sunshine State Conference, Northeast-10, Great Northwest Athletic Conference, Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference all have one representative.
The NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll is voted on by 16 NCAA Division II head coaches with two representing each of the eight NCAA regions. Final 2016 records and rankings are shown and first-place votes are in parentheses.
2017 NFCA Division II Softball Coaches Poll
Preseason | January 25, 2017
|Rank||Team||Totals||2016 Record||2016 Ranking|
|1||North Alabama (16)||400||60-7||1|
|4||West Texas A&M||346||59-5||5|
|6||Grand Valley State||312||43-13||7|
|8||University of Charleston||265||50-12||8|
|10||Wayne State (Mich.)||237||50-10||11|
|12||St. Mary's University||226||47-14||12|
|15||West Virginia Wesleyan||167||54-11||15|
|22||University of Missouri-St. Louis||77||53-9||18|
|23||University of Alabama in Huntsville||58||40-17||17|
Receiving Votes: LIU Post (21), Azusa Pacific (16), Minnesota State (13), Southern New Hampshire (12), Southern Indiana (9), Pfeiffer (7), West Florida (7), Texas Woman’s (7), Chico State (6), Bloomsburg (5), UC San Diego (2).