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UCLA Ascends to No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A familiar name has returned to a familiar place as UCLA (27-2) advanced to No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll for the first time since topping the rankings back on February 15, 2011.

With previously top-rated Florida having suffered a series loss at then-No. 9 Alabama, the Bruins ascended into the lofty position by earning 23 of 32 possible first-place votes from the NFCA Division I Top 25 Committee. UCLA opened the week by completing an impressive series sweep of then-No. 7 Arizona (2-0) before venturing to Seattle, Wash., to split a pair of match-ups at then-No. 5 Washington (W 4-2, L 2-10 in 5 inn.). 

Oregon (25-3) picked up five first-place nods to climb a single spot to No. 2 after taking the first two games in a three-contest set at Utah (W 8-7, W 12-7). A close scrape past Middle Tennessee (W 9-8) and a hard-fought series sweep of South Carolina (W 11-2 in 5 inn., W 5-4, W 6-5) helped Tennessee (28-3) improve one spot to third. 

Following five consecutive weeks at No. 1, fourth-ranked Florida (30-4) was ambushed by series rival Alabama during the teams’ high-profile series in Gainesville, Fla. The Crimson Tide nabbed the opener, 4-2, before the Gators responded to even things in a 7-1 triumph. During Sunday’s rubber-match, UA senior pitcher Jaclyn Traina fired a two-hit shutout as ‘Bama took the series via a 7-0 victory. Washington (21-6) held steady at No. 5 following its two-game split versus the Bruins.

A series sweep of Indiana allowed Michigan (22-6) to remain sixth, while the impressive results at UF helped Alabama (27-5) rise from ninth into the No. 7 spot.

A 4-1 effort wasn’t enough to keep Arizona (27-6) from dropping one position to eighth, while sweeps of North Florida and Boston College moved Florida State (30-4) up a position to No. 9. A 7-5 loss to unranked Kansas, as part of an otherwise successful 6-1 weekly performance, proved the key blow in Kentucky’s (27-5) dropping from eighth to 10th.

There were no exiting teams for the second straight poll as James Madison (22-9), USF (29-8), DePaul (18-6), USC Upstate (29-4), Lipscomb (26-5), California (18-11), LSU (19-12), N.C. State (19-10) and Long Beach State (23-9) comprised the list of “others receiving votes.”

The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.

To view the complete USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll, please click this LINK.