LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the third straight week and 13th time in the last 15 weeks, defending NCAA Division III national champion Texas-Tyler is the unanimous No. 1 team in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top 25 softball rankings.
The (10-0) Patriots wasted no time getting off to a strong start, despite losing 2016 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Player of the Year Kelsie Batten and the left side of their infield, going 3-0 last week. And Texas-Tyler is already 2-0 this week after a sweep of Trinity on Tuesday.
The top three remains unchanged, with St. John Fisher (0-0) at No. 2 and national runner-up Messiah (0-0) at No. 3. Messiah opens Thursday at Methodist, while Fisher doesn’t open until March 5.
The first eight teams in the poll are unanimous. Undefeated East Texas Baptist (8-0) and Berry (8-0) moved up one place each to fill out the first five, while Luther (0-0), Manhattanville (0-0) and unbeaten Linfield (6-0) gained two places apiece in spots 6-8. St. Catherine (0-0) is the new No. 9, while Alma (0-0) rounds out the top 10.
Elsewhere, surging Texas-Dallas (10-1) moved into the poll at No. 18, while No. 19 Virginia Wesleyan (4-0) picked up six places this week on its preseason poll position. Emory (5-3) and Texas Lutheran (4-4) tumbled seven and 17 places this week, respectively, after slower than expected starts against top competition.
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 – Feb. 22, 2017
|2||St. John Fisher||0-0||192||2|
|4||East Texas Baptist||8-0||176||5|
|13||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||0-0||96||15|
|14||St. Thomas (Minn.)||0-0||78||18|
|23||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||0-0||39||T19|
Others receiving votes: Otterbein 20, Central (Iowa) 19, Aurora 11, Tufts 7, Wittenberg 6, Ithaca 5, Rochester 2, Birmingham-Southern 1, Salisbury 1.
Dropped out: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, DePauw, Illinois Wesleyan, Randolph-Macon and Washington (Mo.).