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West Texas A&M Strengthens Its Hold on No. 1 in the NFCA Division II Poll
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A week after edging out Alabama-Huntsville (17-3) by just a single point for the top position in the NFCA Division II softball rankings, No. 1 West Texas A&M (23-2) utilized an unbeaten effort over March 3-9 to expand its winning streak to six games and strengthen its lead over the second-rated Chargers to a commanding 19 points in the latest poll.
The Lady Buffs received 13 of 16 possible first-place votes, following sweeps of a doubleheader at UT Permian Basin (W 9-1, W 12-3 in 6 inn.) and a three-game Lone Star Conference home series against Cameron (W 9-3, W 8-2, W 4-2), to remain in the top spot for the third consecutive week.
After dropping a 2-0 decision in the opener of its three-game Gulf South Conference series at Shorter, second-ranked Alabama-Huntsville rallied for a hard-fought series victory (W 2-1 in 11 inn., W 5-4) and, in the process, retained a single first-place nod in this week’s listing.
Cal Baptist (20-7) held steady at No. 3 in the rankings and received a pair of top votes from the committee despite suffering a doubleheader split against fierce PacWest Conference rival Azusa Pacific (W 14-6 in 6 inn., L 3-4 in 8 inn.) and registering just a 2-2 mark at then-No. 22 Dixie State (15-6).
Four consecutive triumphs at the Saint Leo Invitational in Saint Leo, Fla., helped Armstrong Atlantic (15-5) climb a pair of spots into fourth, while six straight victories, including a 3-1 win over then-No. 14 Wayne State (Mich.), weren’t enough to improve Augustana’s ranking as the Vikings (12-2) remained at No. 5.
A 3-1 record against California Collegiate Athletic Association opponent San Francisco State helped Humboldt State (21-6) rise from seventh to sixth. St. Mary’s (TX) swept Texas A&M-Kingsville (W 4-1, W 10-3) and Oklahoma Panhandle State (W 8-1, W 7-0, W 8-0 in 5 inn.), improving its overall record to 28-4 and its unbeaten string to 10 straight contests while climbing to a season-best No. 7 ranking. Highlighted by a 1-0 victory over then-No. 12 LIU Post as part of a 4-2 run at the Rebel Spring Games in Winter Haven, Fla., Wayne State (MI – 13-3) leapt six spots to join this week’s top 10 at No. 8. North Georgia (20-6) and Tampa (13-3), each currently in possession of a nine-game winning skein, were deadlocked in the No. 9 position.
Five squads fell out of the latest poll including No. 12 LIU Post (2-2), No. 18 Valdosta State (18-8), No. 20 Grand Valley State (11-4), No. 22 Dixie State (15-6) and No. 23 Barry (15-6). Replacing those teams in the rankings for March 12 were No. 15 North Alabama (20-6), No. 16 Cal State Monterey Bay (17-4), No. 23 Southern New Hampshire (9-3), No. 24 Cedarville (12-3) and No. 25 Palm Beach Atlantic (16-4).
The NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll is voted on by 16 NCAA Division II head coaches with two representing each of the eight NCAA regions.
To view the complete NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll, please click this LINK.