LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Three-time reigning national champion Tufts University, the first team to win three straight Division III national championships, finished the season where it started — as the unanimous No. 1 team in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top 25 softball rankings.
The Jumbos were a perfect 51-0 this season and defeated second-ranked Texas-Tyler in the NCAA Championship Series last week at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va., to join UCLA (1988-90) in Division I and Cal State-Northridge (1983-85) and Cal State-Bakersfield (1988-90) in Division II as the only teams in NCAA history to win three consecutive titles.
The College of New Jersey has won the most total Division III crowns with six, while Central (Iowa) and Eastern Connecticut State have claimed four apiece, followed by Tufts (three). Linfield, St. Thomas (Minn.) and Simpson each have two, while 11 schools have captured one title each.
Tufts stayed at No. 1 for all 13 weeks of this season’s poll and is in the top spot for the 16th consecutive week overall. The Jumbos have won 84 of their last 85 and have received every first-place vote going back to last April.
They have been ranked first in 17 of the last 20 polls and 22 of the last 26. Tufts’ 51 victories tied Linfield’s 2011 title team for the most wins in a Division III season.
In its runner-up finish, Texas-Tyler (50-5) recorded the second-most wins in a Division III season to remain anchored at No. 2 in the poll. Salisbury (37-8) and Linfield (39-15), tied for third at the NCAA Championship to fill the No. 3 and 4 positions, respectively.
East Texas Baptist (35-6), the only team other that Tufts to beat Texas-Tyler — they did it three times — who lost to the Patriots in the NCAA Tyler Regional, rounds out the top five.
The other four NCAA Championship teams — Kean (35-15-1), DePauw (36-16), Alma (30-17) and Alfred (40-7) — occupy spots six through nine, while Central (34-12), which fell to Linfield in the NCAA Pella Super Regional, completes the first 10. Among the four, only Alma didn’t receive votes previously this season and Alfred (15th) was the only one of the four listed in the last ranking.
The NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll is selected by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions. Final records are listed, with first-place votes in parentheses.
For the complete poll, click HERE