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Softball Stays Steady at No. 17 in NFCA Division II Poll

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As the Anderson University softball team prepares for a season-high eight-game road swing through the Peach State later this week, the Trojans remained steady at No. 17 in the latest weekly National Fastpitch Coaches (NFCA) Division II softball poll, as released Wednesday afternoon.

Anderson is the lone representative from the South Atlantic Conference, but preseason league favorite Lenoir-Rhyne, which is receiving votes, is just shy of breaking into the top-25. The Peach Belt Conference’s Armstrong Atlantic State stayed in the sixth spot, while North Georgia moved up a notch to 10th this week.

Despite suffering its first two losses of the 2014 campaign, West Texas A&M (20-2) remained on top of the poll by the slimmest of margins, maintaining its hold on the No. 1 spot in the rankings by virtue of a single point.
 
While christening Lone Star Conference play last weekend, the Lady Buffs (eight first-place votes) dropped two of three games at Midwestern State (2-6, 2-3 in 8 inn., 3-0). No. 2 Alabama-Huntsville took advantage of that misstep, improving its winning streak to seven games with home doubleheader sweeps over Stillman (9-2, 10-2 in 6 inn.) and Tuskegee (9-0 in 5 inn., 8-0 in 5 inn.). Those results allowed the Chargers to cut into WT A&M’s once healthy, 16-point lead, as UAH received seven first-place votes to move oh so close to taking over at No. 1.
 
Cal Baptist held steady at No. 3 despite splitting a pair of mid-week contests versus Azusa Pacific (2-0, 2-10 in 5 inn.) and having its high-profile doubleheader against nationally-ranked Dixie State cancelled because of weather. Texas Woman’s (17-3) continued in the No. 4 slot after running its winning streak to a season-best 10 games by rolling past Texas A&M-Kingsville during a three game league series (9-2, 11-0 in 5 inn., 14-2 in 5 inn.). Augustana (SD – 7-2) did not play last week, but still advanced two positions to round out this week’s top five.
 
Armstrong Atlantic (11-5) again held down the sixth position following a 3-1 weekly effort, while Humboldt State (18-5) dropped from a tie for No. 4 last week into the No. 7 slot despite winning three of four California Collegiate Athletic Association games against Cal State Chico.
 
UMSL was off last week, remaining at No. 8 with its 5-1 record, while St. Mary’s (TX – 23-4) and North Georgia (14-6) entered this week’s top 10 at ninth and 10th, respectively.
 
Just one squad dropped out of the latest rankings as Florida Tech (15-7) plummeted from the list after going 3-3 last week and losing both ends of a doubleheader to Palm Beach Atlantic (1-4, 2-4). Taking advantage of FIT’s misfortune, Valdosta State (17-6) roared back into the poll at No. 18 after extending its winning run to a season-high-tying six games by virtue of sweeps of Albany State (2-1, 5-2) and Delta State (10-5, 13-1 in 5 inn., 9-1 in 5 inn.).

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. Current 2014 records are shown and first-place votes are in parentheses.

Anderson opens the eight-game road swing on Saturday at Brewton-Parker, with first-pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.

NFCA Division II Softball Poll – March 5, 2014
 
Rank Team 2014

Record Totals Last Poll
1 West Texas A&M (8) 20-2 390 1
2 Ala.-Huntsville (7) 15-2 389 2
3 California Baptist (1) 17-4 356 3
4 Texas Woman's Univ. 17-3 337 4-tie
5 Augustana (SD) 7-2 321 7
6 Armstrong Atl. State 11-5 320 6
7 Humboldt State 18-5 318 4-tie
8 Missouri-St. Louis 5-1 282 8
9 St. Mary's (TX) 23-4 244 12
10 North Georgia 14-6 232 11
11 UC San Diego 12-2 213 13-tie
12 LIU Post 0-0 210 10
13 Tampa 10-3 209 21
14 Wayne State (MI) 9-1 205 13-tie
15-tie Fort Hays State 10-5 152 15
15-tie West Va. Wesleyan 3-0 152 16
17 Anderson (SC) 16-2 138 17
18 Valdosta State 17-6 114 RV
19 Caldwell 0-0 107 19
20 Grand Valley State 7-3 97 20
21 Emporia State 10-3 73 23
22 Dixie State 13-4 69 22
23 Barry 12-4 58 9
24 Angelo State 14-7 53 25
25 Shippensburg 3-0 34 24
 
Dropped Out of Poll:  No. 18 Florida Tech (15-7)
Others Receiving Votes: Missouri Western State (20), Lenoir Rhyne (19), Palm Beach Atlantic (18), Florida Tech (14), New Haven (12), Cal State Monterey Bay (11), Indianapolis (8), Georgia College (6), Winona State (5), North Alabama (4), Cal State Dominguez Hills (3). Southern New Hampshire (3), West Chester (2), Ashland (1), Central Washington (1).

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