By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With 20 first-place votes and 591 points, Concordia (Calif.) is the No. 1-ranked team for the 15th-straight time in the 2014 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Eagles have been on top of all six polls this year and overall dating back to the first regular-season Top 25 on March 19, 2013. The defending national champion now has 21 all-time No. 1 rankings, which is second most all-time since the 2000 season.
The 2014 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round hosts -- 10 total -- will be announced by 5 p.m. CDT on Wednesday.
Movement was very minimal with the top nine ranked teams holding their position and 18 teams overall not changing from last week. Of the teams that shifted, the largest improvement or fall was just two spots. No. 18 Simpson (Calif.) and No. 21 William Woods (Mo.) were two teams who slid up two spots. No. 23 Oklahoma Baptist conversely tripped up and went down two positions.
Concordia earned their third-straight Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) championship after a sweep of then-No. 13 Biola (Calif.) on April 12. With a 43-5 record, the Eagles have now won at least 40 games in each of the last six seasons. Concordia wraps up the regular season with a doubleheader against San Diego Christian (Calif.) on Tuesday.
For the third-straight week, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) checks in at the No. 2 position. The Warhawks captured 570 total points and the remaining first-place nod. Auburn Montgomery currently stands No. 1 in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) standings with a 3.0-game lead over No. 6 William Carey (Miss.). Both teams will not meet in the regular season as the Warhawks are in the SSAC East Division and William Carey is in the SSAC West Division.
Behind a seven-game win streak, No. 3 LSU Alexandria (La.) stays in the same position for the third-consecutive poll with 552 points. The Generals next face two NCAA Division I opponents, first with Grambling (La.) on Tuesday and then Alcorn State (Miss.) on Thursday. 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.
No. 4 St. Gregory's (Okla.), who posted 543 total points, boasts a 38-6 overall record. The Cavaliers hold a 1.5-game lead over ninth-ranked Oklahoma City in the Sooner Athletic Conference standings. Earlier in the year, St. Gregory's won three-of-four games against the Stars.
For the second-straight week, Cal State San Marcos is listed in the No. 5 position with 530 points. The Cougars most recently fell in a doubleheader against top-ranked Concordia on April 13. However, Cal State San Marcos has gone 18-2 in its last 20 games and will prepare for the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Tournament from May 1 - 4 at Georgia Gwinnett College.
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, William Carey, No. 11 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 sixth regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on April 22.
For the complete calendar of 2014 Top 25 Polls, click here.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) For the second time this year, there are no newcomers to the Top 25 -- the March 25 edition was the other poll without any new teams... In five of six polls this year, the first-place votes have been split amongst at least two teams... The 15-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… Overall, there have been 32 different teams to be ranked at least once this year (through six polls) and 19 of those programs have been ranked in every poll… Concordia has now held the No. 1 position in 19 of the last 21 polls overall dating back to the 2012 season…No. 9 Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 97-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 60-consecutive mentions and Concordia is right behind at 51-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 Concordia with 21, Oklahoma City 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. 5 (April 15)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Concordia (Calif.) (20)||43-5||591|
|2||2||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (1)||27-3||570|
|4||4||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||38-6||513|
|5||5||Cal State San Marcos||31-5-1||504|
|6||6||William Carey (Miss.)||31-3||500|
|7||7||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||32-2||498|
|8||8||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||33-5||446|
|10||11||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||29-3||403|
|11||10||Spring Hill (Ala.)||27-8||401|
|15||15||USC Beaufort (S.C.)||30-6||315|
|16||17||Central Methodist (Mo.)||28-5||300|
|21||23||William Woods (Mo.)||30-15||207|
|24||24||College of Idaho||22-12||147|
|25||25||Central Baptist (Ark.)||27-7||119|
Others receiving votes: Columbia (Mo.) 76; Madonna (Mich.) 56; Taylor (Ind.) 44; Mobile (Ala.) 41; Evangel (Mo.) 31; Grand View (Iowa) 30; Morningside (Iowa) 27; Park (Mo.) 26; Georgia Gwinnett 22; Concordia (Ore.) 16; Indiana Southeast 14; San Diego Christian (Calif.) 10; Georgetown (Ky.) 10; Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 5.