LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Virginia Wesleyan captured its record 10th Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) title and matched the conference’s mark for most wins in a season to remain the unanimous No. 1 choice in the NFCA Top 25 softball rankings for a fifth straight week.
The (43-2) Marlins rebounded from a 3-1 loss to Emory & Henry — just its second defeat of the season — to defeat the (34-13) Wasps, 2-0, in the second title game on Sunday to earn the ODAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which will reveal its field online at 1 p.m. ET on May 8.
Berry (38-2) beat Millsaps, 4-2, in the Southern Athletic Association final — which was delayed a week due to inclement weather — to earn that conference’s NCAA bid and move up to No. 2, while Luther (37-3) is the new No. 3 team after wrapping up its regular season with a 4-0 week.
Both jumped past defending national champion Texas-Tyler (39-4), which lost twice to Texas-Dallas (36-8) in the American Southwest Conference (ASC) tournament to fall to fourth in this week’s poll. The first-time ASC champion Comets surged four places to eighth in the rankings after going 4-0 in that tournament to run their win streak to 16.
Texas Lutheran (37-4) stayed fifth after returning to action from a two-week layoff to win its fourth straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title and 37th consecutive game, while St. John Fisher (33-5) won its 16th straight game to remain sixth and Messiah (33-6) moved up one spot to seventh. Wisconsin-Whitewater (33-7) and Central (31-7) both surged four spots off unbeaten weeks to take over the No. 9 and 10 places, respectively.
Elsewhere, Hope (25-11) swept two ranked teams — then-No. 9 Trine and then-No. 23 Alma — and has won five of its last six to join Emory & Henry as schools earning their first votes of the season.
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 – May 3, 2017
|1||Virginia Wesleyan (8)||43-2||200||1|
|6||St. John Fisher||33-5||160||6|
|12||East Texas Baptist||35-8||102||T10|
|17||St. Thomas (Minn.)||33-7||54||RV|
Others receiving votes: Wisconsin-Eau Claire 19, Springfield 15, Hope 11, Williams 9, Emory & Henry 7, Wisconsin-Oshkosh 4 and Cortland 3.
Dropped out: Alma and Kean.