USA Softball

Feb 18 Gators remain atop the ESPNcomUSA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll

By Steven Embree | Feb. 18, 2014, midnight (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Behind a perfect 5-0 performance at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. this week., the Florida Gators preserve the coveted No. 1 spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. Florida (11-0) occupies the top spot in the poll for the second consecutive week after being ranked third in the preseason.

Click here to see the complete ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll 

The Gators, led by Southeastern Conference (SEC) player of the week Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.),  outscored opponents 59-6 to garner 12 first-place votes in this week’s poll. Moving into the second spot in the Top 25, the Washington Huskies (10-0) remained undefeated on the year with five wins at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz. For their efforts, the Huskies received six of the remaining eight first-place votes in the poll.

One point separated second and third in this weeks poll and despite remaining undefeated, No. 3 Tennessee (9-0) fell one spot for the second straight week. The Lady Vols went 5-0 at the USF Tournament in Tampa, Fla. with all wins coming against unranked opponents. The 2013 Women’s College World Series (WCWS) Finalists collected one first-place vote in this week’s poll.

At No. 4, undefeated Arizona State (11-0) received the final first-place following a 5-0 week of their own. The Sun Devils defeated Tennessee State 10-3 earlier in the week before hosting the Littlewood Classic where they picked up four additional wins highlighted by a 7-0 victory over then-No. 7 Oklahoma

Rounding out the top five, Michigan extended its record to 7-2 with four wins at the Ragin’ Cajun Invitational over the weekend. The Wolverines fell to then-No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette 8-6 on Friday but bounced back to run-rule the Ragin' Cajuns 15-1 in (five innings) on Saturday.  Michigan will travel to Boca Raton, Fla. this week to compete in the FAU Kickoff Classic.

Rounding out the Top 10: No. 6 Kentucky (10-0) improved on its highest ranking in school history this week following a 5-0 week at the Texas Tournament that included two wins over then-No. 16 Texas; No. 7 Alabama (8-2) fell one spot in the poll following a 3-2 showing at the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Ariz.; No. 8 Oregon (9-1) was perfect at the Easton Desert Classic picking up five wins and no loses to improve two spots in this weeks poll; No. 9 UCLA (11-0) jumped four spots from last week with a 5-0 outing at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament; No. 10 Florida State (10-1) cracked the Top 10 this week following a six-win performance while hosting the Renegade Classic.

Making the biggest jump this week in the poll is Arizona (9-0), who jumped eight spots to No. 14.  The Wildcats, hosts of the Hillenbrand Invitational, went 6-0 on the week defeating Grand Canyon 5-0 on Thursday, New Mexico 5-0 (five innings) on Friday, Tennessee State 10-1 (five innings), then-No. 6 Alabama 3-0 on Saturday and 8-0 (five innings) on Sunday and closed out the event with another 5-0 win over Grand Canyon on Sunday afternoon.  

For the second straight week, No. 25 Texas suffered the biggest fall in the poll. The Longhorns drop nine spots this week following a 2-3 performance as hosts of the Texas Classic that included two losses to No. 6 Kentucky (4-6 and 5-6) as well as a 2-3 loss at the hands of IPFW.

Dropping out of the Top 25 are Week 1 No. 23 Louisville (4-5), who suffered losses to then-unranked Notre Dame and North Carolina and last week's No. 25 California (5-4) who earned losses to San Diego State, Texas State and St. Mary’s. Entering the poll this week are No. 21 Tulsa (9-1), who swept the Aggie Classic in College Station, Texas and No. 24 Notre Dame (5-0) who improved to 6-1 with wins over Louisville and Jacksonville at the Jacksonville University Tournament. 

The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll is currently in its 12th year. Regular season polls are released for 14 consecutive Tuesdays with the final poll of the season to be released on June 10 following the NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS). The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week accolades are announced in conjunction with the Top 25 poll with a new player chosen each Tuesday of the regular season.

In addition to conducting the ESPN.com/USA Softball collegiate Top 25 Poll and the USA Softball Player of the Week, ASA/USA Softball is also in the 13th season of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. The Top 50 Watch List for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year was announced Jan. 29, and the Top 25 will be announced April 9, the Top 10 announced May 7 and the Top 3 announced May 21. The 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 27.  

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