By: Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Concordia (Calif.) is picked as the consensus No. 1 team in the seventh regular-season edition of the 2014 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. For the 17th-straight time, the Eagles lands in the No. 1 position, this time gathering 591 total points and all 21 first-place votes. The streak began on March 19, 2013 in the first regular-season Top 25 installment.
The final regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced May 6 at 4 p.m. CDT with the 40 Softball National Championship Opening Round qualifiers announced at 5 p.m. The pairings for the opening round tournament will be announced with a video selection show at 7 p.m. on NAIA.org.
The rest of the top five teams all remained the same from last week: No. 2 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), No. 3 LSU Alexandria (La.), No. 4 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and No. 5 Cal State San Marcos.
Concordia, who has the most wins in the NAIA with a 48-5 record, won its third-straight Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) championship on April 26 over No. 12 Biola (Calif.). The defending national champions have earned the auto berth out of the GSAC and will head to its fifth National Championship in the last six years. Shortstop Jenna Jorgenson ranks in the top-five nationally in several offensive power categories, including No. 2 in RBIs (67), No. 3 in slugging percentage (.980) and No. 4 in home runs (16).
Auburn Montgomery finished with 568 total points and a No. 2 ranking for the fifth-straight time. The Warhawks took home the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) regular-season title with a 25-1 mark and 36-4 overall record. That title gives Auburn Montgomery a trip to the National Championship for the third-straight season.
No. 3 LSU Alexandria stands with 548 points. The Generals are the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) postseason tournament, which begins Thursday. LSU Alexandria has won eight-straight contests, including four against NCAA Division I institutions such as Alcorn State (Miss.) and Grambling (La.).
With 541 total points, No. 4 Olivet Nazarene stays in the top 10 for the fourth-consecutive poll. The Tigers won the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) regular-season title and in the process, earned the auto berth to the National Championship Opening Round. After a 5-2 win on April 24 over then-No. 9 Saint Xavier (Ill.), Olivet Nazarene won its 43rd-straight game on the season. That mark now ranks No. 2 on the national all-time win streak chart, just one shy of the all-time record accomplished by Concordia during the 2011-12 seasons. The win streak ended in Game 2 against Saint Xavier when a 2-2 tie occurred due to darkness.
For the fourth-straight time, Cal State San Marcos captures the No. 5 spot with 510 points. The Cougars, with a 35-5-1 overall record, will compete in the A.I.I. postseason tournament and could potentially face No. 3 LSU Alexandria in the second round. Four of the five losses this year by Cal State San Marcos are against the defending champion Concordia.
No. 25 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) is the newly ranked team this week after winning four-straight games and boasting the No. 1 seed in The Sun Conference (TSC) tournament. With 103 total points, Embry-Riddle is scheduled to play on Thursday in the TSC first round. The 2014 campaign marks the second season of intercollegiate varsity softball for the Eagles.
USC Beaufort (S.C.) (No. 14) dropped out this week due to a 3-3 stretch in its last six contests. The Sand Sharks have their streak of 17-straight polls halted.
No. 7 Spring Hill (Ala.) saw the biggest improvement within the poll, jumping up three positions. Conversely, No. 11 William Carey (Miss.) dropped five spots and is outside the top 10 for the first time since March 18.
Fourteen of 21 conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups are represented this week’s poll. The SSAC places the most teams among the Top 25 with five: Auburn Montgomery, No. 7 Spring Hill, No. 11 William Carey, No. 15 Belhaven (Miss.) and No. 21 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.
For the complete calendar of 2014 Top 25 Polls, click here.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) With all first-place votes, No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) has now been the unanimous pick in two polls this year... The 17-straight No. 1 rankings for Concordia is the longest stretch for any program since former member California Baptist rattled through 24-consecutive polls from 2009-11… No. 3 LSU Alexandria (La.) has been ranked among the top five since vaulting into the poll in the first regular-season edition on March 18... Overall, there have been 33 different teams to be ranked at least once this year (through eight polls) and 16 of those programs have been ranked in every poll… Concordia has now held the No. 1 position in 21 of the last 23 polls overall dating back to the 2012 season…No. 17 (tie) Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 99-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch, which dates back to start of 2004 season; No. 11 William Carey (Miss.) is second with 62-consecutive mentions and Concordia is right behind at 53-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 23, 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. 7 (April 29)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Concordia (Calif.) (21)||48-5||591|
|2||2||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||36-4||568|
|4||4||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||43-2-1||541|
|5||5||Cal State San Marcos||35-5-1||510|
|6||7||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||46-8||476|
|7||10||Spring Hill (Ala.)||35-10||459|
|8||9||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||42-5-1||446|
|9||8||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||43-7||444|
|11||6||William Carey (Miss.)||40-8||412|
|14||16||Central Methodist (Mo.)||37-6||332|
|20||21||William Woods (Mo.)||36-15||226|
|23||24||Central Baptist (Ark.)||33-7||166|