Feb. 20, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Another dominant tournament run has kept the Tennessee Lady Vol softball team (9-0) on top of the national polls for the second consecutive week. The latest edition of the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings has UT at No. 1 with 16 first-place votes and 494 total points after the Big Orange rolled through the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., last weekend with five straight victories.
The Texas A&M Aggies (10-0) jumped over last week's No. 2 team Arizona State (13-0) and into the number two slot despite the Sun Devils remaining unbeaten at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Defending national champion Arizona (9-2) rebounded from a tough opening weekend to stay at No. 4 by winning its own Worth Wildcat Tournament. Undefeated Southeastern Conference stalwart Alabama (10-0) sits fifth after picking up its seventh straight Bama Bash championship with wins over Radford, Toledo and Michigan State in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
LSU (11-1), tied for No. 5 with Alabama in last week's rankings, slips to sixth after suffering its initial defeat of the 2007 campaign to Southern Illinois (8-5) at the Houston Crown Plaza Classic in Houston, Texas. Oregon State (6-2) is seventh with Stanford (9-2), Louisiana-Lafayette (12-1) and unbeaten Oklahoma (10-0) rounding out the national top 10.
Several annual powerhouse teams continued their early season struggles as 2006 national finalist Northwestern (6-4) dropped from No. 8 to No. 12 after an 8-2 loss to Cal-Poly, 10-time national champ UCLA (7-4) tumbled from ninth to 14th after an 8-1 defeat by Oklahoma State and California (6-4) fell from 10th to No. 17 after a 3-3 weekend at the Desert Classic in Las Vegas.
Other SEC schools in the top 25 include Georgia (9-3) at No. 18 and Florida (10-3) at 19th. The Bulldogs were 5-1 at the Georgia Tournament in Athens, Ga., while the Gators dropped a pair of contests to No. 22 N.C. State in their home-hosted event, the Cox Communications Classic.
During Tennessee's five-game stay at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., the Big Orange exhibited their power potential with nine home runs while hitting .376 as a team and outscoring their opposition by a 41-2 count. Junior infielder Kenora Posey hit .571 in seven plate appearances, freshman catcher/outfielder Tiffany Huff was 7-of-13 for a .538 average with two home runs and a team-best 10 RBI. Rookie designated player Alexia Clay hit .533 (8-of-15) with a homer, sophomore third baseman Jennifer Griffin hit at a .455 clip (5-of-11) with a pair of doubles. Senior center fielder Lindsay Schutzler (.375, HR), senior left fielder India Chiles (.357) and junior first baseman Tonya Callahan (.333, 2 HR's) each topped the .300 mark in 12 or more at-bats. Senior pitcher Monica Abbott was a perfect 4-0 in the circle over the length of the weekend. The current USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week and SEC Pitcher of the Week totaled an amazing 56 strikeouts in just 22 innings of work. The Salinas, Calif., native also registered three shutouts while permitting two hits and no runs and fired no-hitters against Florida International and Cal State Northridge to grant her 19 total in her career. Abbott averaged 17.8 strikeouts per seven innings over the course of the event.
After a couple of days off to recover the No. 1 Lady Vols will return to the diamond for a single match-up against Cal-State Fullerton on Wed., Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. PT before venturing to the prestigious Palm Springs Classic over Feb. 22-24 to conclude their marathon 11-day road trip. Live stats will be available when possible through utladyvols.com and, as always, periodic updates will be provided on the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6).
ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll
Week of Feb. 12-18
|2.||Texas A&M (4)||10-0||471||3|
Parenthesis Denotes first place votes.
Dropped Out: DePaul
Others receiving votes: Hawaii (23), DePaul (18), Southern Illinois (12), Virginia Tech (10), Kansas (5), Georgia Tech (4), South Florida (3), San Diego State (3), Illinois State (3), BYU (3), Cal State Fullerton (2)