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Tufts Remains No. 1 in NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Defending national champion Tufts University continues to be the unanimous selection as the top-ranked team in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III softball rankings.
The Jumbos, who went 46-3 last season en route to the program’s first national title, return three of the four players selected to the NCAA Division III World Series All-Tournament Team, including pitcher Allyson Fournier, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, catcher Jo Clair and outfielder Michelle Cooprider. They open the season on March 15 with games against Ramapo and Southern Maine.
Montclair State, meanwhile, continues as the No. 2-ranked team, after a year in which it went 46-5 and advanced to the NCAA World Series. The Red Hawks start their campaign on Sunday with games against Illinois Wesleyan and Mitchell College.
Third-ranked Salisbury (4-0), which was idle last week, maintained its place in the poll. The Sea Gulls resume their season with an 1 p.m. home game Friday against Randolph-Macon (5-1), which received five votes in this week’s poll.
Cortland was joined in the No. 4 spot this week by Central (Iowa) College. Cortland opens March 9 with games against Waynesburg and Marietta, after a 35-17 season in which it was the 2013 NCAA runner-up, while the Dutch get going on March 14 with games against Dickinson and Baldwin-Wallace.
East Texas Baptist (10-0), the 2010 national champion, moved up two spots to sixth, following a three-game American Southwest Conference sweep of Howard Payne, while Luther (4-0) got off to a good start to remain seventh, and No. 8 Virginia Wesleyan (10-0) continued its climb up the rankings.
Elsewhere, Texas-Tyler (11-1) lost its first game of the season last week to drop into a tie with unbeaten Emory (16-0) for ninth, rounding out the top 10 teams.
Coe (2-0) made the week’s biggest move — 10 places to No. 11 — while Kean’s 4-0 start vaulted the Cougars into the top 25 for the first time this season. But Trine’s split of its first two games dropped the Thunder six places to No. 16.
Cal Lutheran (8-0) and Washington (Md.) College (4-0) picked up their first poll votes, while Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (2-5) dropped out of the rankings.
The NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll is selected by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions. Records as of Monday are listed, with first-place votes in parentheses.
To view the complete NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll, please click here