LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Berry College is the new No. 1 team in the NFCA Top 25 softball rankings, dethroning defending national champion Texas-Tyler, which had held the top spot for the past five weeks and 15 of the last 17 polls.
The (19-1) Vikings received seven of the eight first-place votes prior to Tuesday’s doubleheader split at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Berry had won 19 straight games to start the season and captured five of its last six games by run rule.
The (19-2) Patriots, meanwhile, have lost two of their last six games following a 15-0 start. Their latest loss came to then-No. 3 East Texas Baptist — 3-2 in eight innings — last Wednesday in the middle game of their American Southwest Conference matchup.
Virginia Wesleyan (17-1), which suffered its first loss on Sunday in the first game of a twinbill with then-No. 10 Christopher Newport, received this week’s other first-place vote to move up another three places to third in the poll. The Marlins were the last team not named Texas-Tyler to hold the No. 1 spot, residing there for two straight weeks last May, before the Patriots reclaimed the top spot for 2016’s final ranking.
Luther (6-0) continued its climb despite not playing any games last week, edging out East Texas Baptist (17-2) for fourth, while Messiah (7-2), Rowan (12-0), St. John Fisher (8-2), Linfield (12-2) and Trine (10-0) rounded out the top 10.
Surging Kean (11-1) and Louisiana College (17-2) moved into the Top 25 from the receiving votes category in the No. 20 and 24 spots, respectively, while Lynchburg (14-2) earned its first votes of the season to rank 25th.
The NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll is selected by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions. Current 2017 records are listed, with first-place votes in parentheses.
NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll – March 15, 2017
|3||Virginia Wesleyan (1)||17-1||177||6|
|5||East Texas Baptist||17-2||172||3|
|8||St. John Fisher||8-2||143||2|
|15 (tie)||St. Catherine||6-2||74||16|
|21||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||5-5||27||11|
|23||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||0-0||25||23|
Others receiving votes: Illinois Wesleyan 20, Otterbein 17, Texas-Dallas 14, Tufts 10, La Verne 8, DePauw 4, Manhattanville 1 and Texas Lutheran 1.
Dropped out: Alma, Aurora, Cortland, Ithaca and St. Thomas (Minn.).