By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Despite a loss last week, Concordia (Calif.) holds on to the No. 1 ranking for the 14th-straight poll in the 2014 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Eagles captured 17 of a possible 21 first-place votes and 586 total points in the fourth regular-season edition. On April 1, Concordia dropped a 3-1 decision to unranked Vanguard (Calif.).
Led by one of the NAIA's best offenses, Concordia stands 39-5. The Eagles are looking to win 40 games on the year for the sixth-consecutive season. Concordia ranks No. 2 in home runs per game (1.3) and slugging percentage (.602), No. 8 in RBIs per game (7.0) and No. 9 in runs scored per game (7.7). The Eagles will face No. 13 Biola (Calif.) on Saturday in a scheduled doubleheader beginning at Noon PDT. Heading into the week, Concordia leads Biola by 2.0 games for the No. 1 spot in the Golden State Athletic Conference standings.
For the first time all year, No. 2 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) checks in with first-place votes (4). The Warhawks are ranked second for the second-straight week with 571 points and own a 21-3 overall record. Auburn Montgomery is the only Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) school with an undefeated league record (10-0).
No. 3 LSU Alexandria (La.) stays put for the second-straight week. After going unranked in the Preseason Top 25, the Generals vaulted up to No. 5 in the first edition and have stayed within the top-five since then. During its current seven-game win streak, LSU Alexandria has won by an average of 5.9 runs.
Moving up one spot are No. 4 St. Gregory's (Okla.) and No. 5 Cal State San Marcos. The Cavaliers hold their highest ranking of the year with 530 points and their best position since March 31, 2009 (No. 4). With 503 points, Cal State San Marcos lands inside the top five for the first time since the final Top 25 poll in 2013.
No. 7 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) enjoyed the best improvement within the poll, jumping up five positions. Tumbling down seven spots, No. 11 Saint Xavier (Ill.) suffered the worst fall within the Top 25.
Ranked at No. 24, newcomer William Woods (Mo.) lands in the Top 25 for the first time since March 17, 2009, when the Owls were No. 14. William Woods is on a season-best eight-game win streak to vault into first place in the American Midwest Conference. The other rookie this week is No. 21 Oklahoma Baptist. The Bison, who held the preseason No. 15 (tie) position, have won 12 of their last 13 games.
Campbellsville (Ky.) (No. 22) and Park (Mo.) (No. 17) both dropped out of the poll this week.
Fourteen of 21 conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups are represented this week in the Top 25. The SSAC places the most teams inside the Top 25 with five: Auburn Montgomery, No. 6 William Carey (Miss.), No. 10 Spring Hill (Ala.), No. 14 Belhaven (Miss.) and No. 20 Brenau (Ga.). Both the Association of Independent Institutions and the Sooner Athletic Conference claim a trio of ranked programs.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences /independent /unaffiliated groupings. The fifth regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on April 15.
For the complete calendar of 2014 Top 25 Polls, click here.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) The 14-straight No. 1 rankings for Concordia (Calif.) is the longest stretch for any program since former member California Baptist rattled through 24-consecutive polls from 2009 - 11… With 20 all-time No. 1 positions, Concordia now is tied with Oklahoma City for second-most top billings... Overall, there have been 32 different teams to be ranked at least once this year (through five polls) and 19 of those programs have been ranked in every poll… Concordia has now held the No. 1 position in 18 of the last 20 polls overall dating back to the 2012 season…No. 9 Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 96-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch, which dates back to start of 2004 season; No. 6 William Carey (Miss.) is second with 59-consecutive mentions and Concordia is right behind at 50-straight polls… Since 2000, 11 teams have topped the poll with former member California Baptist leading the way with 46 all-time No. 1 appearances, followed by Oklahoma City with 20, Concordia with 20, former member Simon Fraser (B.C.) with 18, Thomas (Ga.) with 13, Mobile (Ala.) with five, former member Lubbock Christian (Texas) with four, Cal State San Marcos with two and Oklahoma Baptist with two -- Oregon Tech and former member Shorter (Ga.) each have one.
2014 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 4 (April 8)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Concordia (Calif.) (17)||39-5||586|
|2||2||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (4)||21-3||571|
|4||5||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||33-5||530|
|5||6||Cal State San Marcos||27-3-1||503|
|6||10||William Carey (Miss.)||28-2||500|
|7||12||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||22-2||467|
|8||9||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||30-4||443|
|10||7||Spring Hill (Ala.)||23-6||427|
|11||4||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||19-3||410|
|15||15||USC Beaufort (S.C.)||27-5||327|
|17||18||Central Methodist (Mo.)||24-5||288|
|23||RV||William Woods (Mo.)||25-14||170|
|24||24||College of Idaho||19-11||145|
|25||25||Central Baptist (Ark.)||24-6||137|