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Defending National Champion Concordia (CA) Tops the First 2014 NAIA Regular Season Poll
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Defending national champion Concordia (Calif.) holds the No. 1 position in the first regular season edition of the 2014 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. The Eagles, who were also atop the Preseason Coaches’ Poll, hold the No. 1 spot for the 11th-straight poll after starting the season with a 25-3 record.
With 13-of-the-20 first-place votes, Concordia posted 554 total points. The Eagles have now been ranked in the top 10 in each of the last 22 polls.
Moving up one spot to the No. 2 position was Oklahoma City, which received seven first-place votes to tally 548 points. The Stars slid up into the second spot for the first time since May 29, 2012.
Switching spots with Oklahoma City was Spring Hill (Ala.), which claimed 519 points to take the No. 3 position in the rankings. Last season’s national runner-up is led in the circle again by NAIA First Team All-American Caroline Segrera, who leads the nation with 150 strikeouts. No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) also moved up one place in the poll with 486 points.
The biggest jump of the week came from LSU Alexandria (La.), which went from the receiving votes group to the No. 5 spot with 478 points thanks to a 24-3 record.
Biola (Calif.) moved into the rankings for the first time since March 29, 2011 after not receiving votes in the preseason poll to mark one of the other significant moves of the week. On the other end of the spectrum, Oklahoma Baptist and Concordia (Ore.) slipped out of the top 25.
Three of the final five spots were taken by newcomers to the poll after receiving votes in the preseason edition: No. 21 Simpson (Calif.), No. 23 Davenport (Mich.) and No. 24 (tie) Campbellsville (Ky.). The top 25 ranking was the first for Simpson (dating back to 2000) while Davenport returned to the polls for the first time since March 20, 2012.
The Southern States Athletic Conference hails the most Top 25 mentions with five teams: Spring Hill, No. 6 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), No. 8 Belhaven (Miss.), No. 13 William Carey (Miss.), and No. 19 Brenau (Ga.). Five conferences landed two teams each in the Top 25: American Midwest Conference, Cascade Collegiate Conference, Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, Golden State Athletic Conference, Mid-South Conference, and the Sooner Athletic Conference.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences /independent /unaffiliated groupings. The next regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on March 25.
For the complete calendar of 2014 Top 25 Polls, click here.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) The 11-straight No. 1 rankings for Concordia (Calif.) is the longest stretch for any program since former member California Baptist rattled through 24-consecutive polls from 2009 - 11… No. 18 Central Methodist (Mo.) returned to the top 25 in the same position of its last previous ranking in the 2013 Preseason Top 25 (Nov. 12)… Sixteen programs have been ranked in each of the 10polls (including Preseason) this year… No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) has now held the No. 1 position in 16 of the last 18 polls dating back to the 2012 season…No. 2 Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 92-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch, which dates back to start of 2004 season; No. 13 William Carey (Miss.) is second with 55-consecutive mentions and No. 1 Concordia is right behind at 46-straight polls… Since 2000, there have been 11 teams to be on top of the polls: Concordia, Cal State San Marcos, California Baptist, Lubbock Christian, Mobile (Ala.), Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma City, Oregon Tech, former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.), former member Shorter (Ga.) and Thomas (Ga.)… California Baptist leads the way with 46 all-time No. 1 appearances, followed by Oklahoma City with 20, Simon Fraser with 18, Concordia with 16, Thomas with 13, Mobile with five and Lubbock Christian with four.
****release courtesy of Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
2014 NAIA Softball Coaches’Top 25 Poll – No. 1 (March 18)
Others receiving votes: Central Baptist (Ark.) 120; Vanguard (Calif.) 109; Southeastern (Fla.) 105; William Woods (Mo.) 81; Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 57; Oklahoma Baptist 56; Concordia (Neb.) 23; Marian (Ind.) 9; Concordia (Ore.) 6; Mobile (Ala.) 5; Georgia Gwinnett 4; William Penn (Iowa) 4; Doane (Neb.) 3; Cornerstone (Mich.) 3.
^ Ranking from Jan. 21, 2014 (2014 Preseason Top 25)