KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Despite not having the majority of No. 1 votes, Concordia (Calif.) reigns as No. 1 in the 2013 NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office. The Eagles, with a 25-2 record and 560 total points, are one of four programs with at least one first-place nod. Concordia earns its seventh No. 1 in program history behind five first-place votes.
Preseason No. 1 Cal State San Marcos captured eight first-place votes to garner the No. 2 position. No. 3 Lee (Tenn.) with five first-place votes and No. 4 Rogers State (Okla.) with three round out the teams at the top.
Fifth-ranked Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) posted 528 votes. Overall, 24 of 25 teams shifted positions from the preseason Top 25 announced on Nov. 13.
Concordia is on top of the polls for the first time since May 8, 2012, when that ranking was the sixth-straight No. 1 for the Eagles. Since a 4-3 loss to Southern Oregon on Feb. 9, Concordia has won 21-straight contests. During its win streak, the Eagles have out-scored their opponents 177-18 and recorded 12 shutouts during that span.
No. 3 Lee is the biggest improvement within the poll, sliding up eight positions. Conversely, No. 19 Central Baptist (Ark.) falls the farthest, down 13 spots from the Preseason Top 25.
Rogers State highlights the list of newcomers this week with a No. 4 position. Nationally listed for the first time since May 7, 2008 (No. 7), the Hillcats are 27-0 and the only undefeated team of any program with at least 10 or more games played. They rank No. 2 in the NAIA in slugging percentage (.594) and fourth in batting average (.370).
No. 18 Belhaven (Miss.), No. 22 Park (Mo.), No. 23 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) and No. 24 William Jessup (Calif.) are the other rookies this week. Both Park and William Jessup are included in the Top 25 for the first time in school history. Belhaven was last ranked on Nov. 15, 2012 at No. 6. Freed-Hardeman checks in after an absence since April 28, 2009.
The following schools dropped out since the Preseason Top 25: Houston-Victoria (Texas) (No. 10), Central Methodist (Mo.) (No. 18), Indiana Southeast (No. 20), Bethany (Kan.) (No. 23) and Indiana Wesleyan (No. 24).
Thirteen of 21 conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference boasted six within the Top 25 to lead the way: Lee, Auburn Montgomery, No. 11 William Carey (Miss.), No. 12 Brenau (Ga.), No. 18 Belhaven and No. 21 Mobile (Ala.). The Sooner Athletic Conference claims four ranked teams, while four other leagues boast a pair of programs.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences /independent /unaffiliated groupings. The second regular-season Top 25 will be announced on March 26.
For the complete calendar of 2013 Top 25 Polls, click here.
**Courtesy of Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communication & Sports Information