March 7, 2007
STARKVILLE, Miss. - No. 1 Tennessee (22-0) begins its fourth straight week on top of the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll and second consecutive as the unanimous choice for the top position in NCAA Division I according to a Wednesday release from the NFCA. The Lady Vols are now a perfect 15-0 as the nation's No. 1 softball team.
The Big Orange added to their undefeated record by sweeping a Tuesday doubleheader from Appalachian State in the home opener at Tennessee Field at Tyson Park. By throwing a one-hit shutout with 15 K's in UT's 1-0 victory in the first contest against ASU, senior pitcher Monica Abbott tied the NCAA Division career shutout record of 94 held by former California pitcher Michele Granger. The 6-3 lefthander also picked up the win in the second match-up against the Mountaineers with 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of starter Megan Rhodes to improve to 16-0 on the season and stretch her scoreless inning streak to an incredible 82.2 frames, seventh-best in NCAA Division I history.
Defending national champion Arizona (14-3) switched places with its archrival Arizona State (21-2) by jumping from third to second after last week's No. 2 Sun Devils suffered an 8-7 loss last weekend to UC-Santa Barbara at the Wilson/DeMarini Tournament in Tempe, Ariz. Undefeated Alabama (21-0) and Texas A&M (19-2) round out the Division I top 5 by tying for the No. 4 position.
Other Southeastern Conference teams in the poll include LSU (21-3) at 10th, Tennessee's upcoming weekend foe Florida (18-8) at 19th and Georgia (15-8) at 21st.
No. 1 Tennessee will open Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a visit to Gainesville, Fla., over March 10-11, to battle the No. 19 Florida Gators in a three-game set. Live stats will be available through utladyvols.com, and periodic updates will be provided to the Lady Vol Hotline at 865-974-8700 (box #6). The Saturday doubleheader will be broadcast live on The Sports Animal (99.1, 99.3 FM, 990 AM) with the "Voice of the Lady Vols" Mickey Dearstone at 1 and 3 p.m. ET.
USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Softball Poll - Mar. 7
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by NCAA Division I head coaches representing each conference. Records are as of Mar. 4. First-place votes are in parentheses.
Others receiving votes:
Nebraska 40, Fresno State 26, Cal State Fullerton 24, Hawaii 24, DePaul 21, Houston 11, South Florida 8, Virginia Tech 5, UC Santa Barbara 4. Five others received one vote each.
No. 23 Nebraska, No. 25 Hawaii.