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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — DePauw, which went into last season’s NCAA Division III Finals as the top seed, starts 2022 as the unanimous preseason No. 1 in the NFCA Division III Top 25 Coaches Poll.

The (40-5) Tigers return 26 players to a roster that includes NFCA All-America pitcher Cami Henry and tied for third nationally at the NCAAs in Salem, Va.

Meanwhile, Virginia Wesleyan (46-6-1) will start at No. 2 after losing 10 players from last year’s national championship squad, including Schutt Sports/NFCA Pitcher of the Year Hanna Hull, a four-time All-American and three-time Schutt Sports/NFCA Player of the Year, as well as Schutt Sports/NFCA Player of the Year and Diamond Sports/NFCA Catcher of the Year Jessica Goldyn, who was also an All-American. The Marlins return pitcher Emily Seale, who was an All-American last season as a freshman, and All-Region selections Ariana Rolle and Julia Sinnett.

Texas Lutheran (36-6) is ranked third to open 2022. The Bulldogs were the national runner-up last season, losing to Virginia Wesleyan in the NCAA Championship Series, and return a bevy of talent. Together, Texas Lutheran (2019) and Virginia Wesleyan (2017, 2018, 2021) have won the last four NCAA crowns.

East Texas Baptist (33-7) which fell to Birmingham-Southern (33-8) in the 2021 NCAA Marshall Regional, starts one spot ahead of the Panthers in the preseason top five. Birmingham-Southern has a new coaching staff this season after tying for third at the NCAA Finals a year ago.

Other NCAA Finals participants, No. 7 Tufts (21-7), ninth-ranked Rochester (35-10) and 12th-ranked Wisconsin-Oshkosh (29-13) also made the preseason ranking. Tufts and Rochester finished tied for seventh nationally in Salem, while Wisconsin-Oshkosh tied for fifth with St. Thomas, who is now in Division I.

The NFCA Division III Top 25 Coaches Poll is selected by 10 NCAA Division III head coaches representing the 10 NCAA regions. Final 2021 records are listed, with first-place votes in parentheses. The first weekly regular-season poll will be released on March 8.

NFCA Division III Top 25 Softball Coaches Poll – Feb. 8, 2022

Rank

Team

Points

2021 Final Record

2021 Final Ranking

1

DePauw (10)

250

40-5

3

2

Virginia Wesleyan

240

46-6-1

1

3

Texas Lutheran

230

36-6

2

4

East Texas Baptist

220

33-7

10

5

Birmingham-Southern

210

33-8

5

6

Eastern Connecticut State

200

32-4

17

7

Tufts

190

21-7

T8

8

Salisbury

180

25-9

14

9

Rochester

170

35-10

T8

10

The College of New Jersey

160

26-5

4

11

Milwaukee School of Engineering

150

35-10

16

12

Wisconsin-Oshkosh

140

29-13

6

13

Mount St. Joseph

130

33-10

12

14

Piedmont

120

25-13

18

15

St. John Fisher

110

31-7

11

16

Trine

100

30-8

21

17

Berry

90

25-10

15

18

Belhaven

80

31-12

19

19

Christopher Newport

70

28-14

NR

20

Linfield

60

38-9

RV

21

Millikin

38

31-13

NR

22

Brandeis

26

14-3

RV

23

Case Western Reserve

22

27-9

NR

24

Gettysburg

17

13-5

RV

25

Alfred

12

32-11

24

Others receiving votes:  Husson 10, Coe 7, Emory 6, Aurora 5, Benedictine 3, Calvin 3, and Babson 1.

2022 NFCA Division III Top 25 Committee

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