LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Unbeaten two-time defending national champion Tufts University continues to be the pacesetter atop the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Top 25 softball rankings.
Tufts (20-0) won all four of its games last week to extend its victory streak to 22 and hold the No. 1 spot for the ninth week this season and 12th consecutive week. The Jumbos have now won 53 of their last 54 and have received all eight first-place votes going back to last April. They have been ranked first in 13 of the last 16 polls and 18 of the last 22.
Texas-Tyler (29-1) picked up four more wins and East Texas Baptist (23-2) won all six of its games this past week, as the American Southwest Conference rivals strengthened their grip on the second and third spots, respectively. Luther (30-2) shook off a loss to Wisconsin-Stevens Point to win five straight in a 5-1 week to remain fourth, while Virginia Wesleyan (26-4) and Illinois Wesleyan (24-6) each moved up two places after unbeaten weeks.
Last year’s Division III runner-up Salisbury (23-4) slipped one more place to tie Trine (25-2) for seventh, while Rowan (28-2) dropped four spots to ninth after being swept by Kean (17-7-1), which returns to the poll at No. 24 after an one-week hiatus. North Central (19-1) remains 10th following a 6-0 week.
The biggest movers in the rankings were Central (25-8), which dropped five spots to 18th after a 2-2 week, and St. Thomas (25-7), which moved up five on the strength of a 4-0 stretch.
Texas Lutheran (29-4) won its 26th straight game to surge to 19th and Birmingham-Southern (26-6-1) won four more games to go from receiving votes to No. 25 in just its second week in the rankings.
Cortland and Wisconsin-La Crosse received votes for the first time this season, while Messiah is in the mix for the fourth week, but first since the March 4 poll.
Four schools — Anderson (Ind.), Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Lake Forest and Williams — dropped out.
The NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll is selected by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions. Current records are listed, with first-place votes in parentheses.
For the complete poll, click HERE