1-24-2012 ASU Captures Both Pre-Season Polls

ASU Captures Both Polls

January 24 2012

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 24, 2012

 

Arizona State claims top spot in pre-season ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll

OKLAHOMA CITY — With the 2011 NCAA Division I Softball National Championship fresh on the minds of voters, defending National Champion Arizona State has secured the No. 1 spot in the pre-season ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll. The Sun Devils claimed 19 of 20 first place votes in the poll, announced today by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America.

Florida stole a No. 1 vote from the Sun Devils but the Gators are only fourth overall in the poll. At the 2011 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, Arizona State’s Dallas Escobedo shut down the Gators in the Championship Series 14-4 and 7-2, becoming the first freshman pitcher to win the Championship Game since UCLA’s Heather Compton in 1990. Escobedo (Glendale, Ariz.) returns to the Sun Devil line-up while her co-Most Outstanding Player of the WCWS Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) anchors the Florida Gators.

Seven of the schools in the pre-season Top 8 participated in the WCWS with eighth ranked Arizona being the lone exception, having failed to make it out of the Tucson Super Regional in 2011. Alabama is No. 2 to start the season with California, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma and Baylor claiming No. 3-7, respectively. Oklahoma State finished the 2011 season at No. 8 following a WCWS appearance but the Cowgirls start the season tied with Michigan at No. 16.

The Pacific 12  Conference (Pac-12) leads the way with seven teams ranked in the pre-season Top 25. Six teams each from the Big 12 Conference and Southeastern Conference (SEC) also appear in the first poll. The Big Ten Conference produced two ranked teams while the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big East Conference, Conference USA and Sun Belt Conference each had one team among the Top 25.

 Of the teams ranked in the pre-season poll, five squads have athletes on the 2012 USA Softball Women’s National Team including Florida, who is represented in the Red, White and Blue, by Moultrie. Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) plays for Cal. Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) plays for Missouri. Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) plays for Oklahoma. Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) plays for No. 9 Tennessee. Molly Johnson (Tucson, Ariz.) is an assistant coach for No. 18 Kentucky. In total, 16 of the Top 25 schools had athletes or coaches compete with the 2011 USA Softball Women’s National Team or the 2011 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team.

The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll is currently in its 10th year. Starting Feb. 14, regular season polls will be released for 14 consecutive Tuesdays with the final poll of the season to be released on June 12 following the WCWS. The first of 14 USA Softball Collegiate Players of the Week will also be announced on Feb. 14 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 11th 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 will be announced Feb. 1 with the Top 25 announced April 11, the Top 10 announced May 9 and the Top 3 announced May 23. The 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 29.

Ashley Hansen (Chandler, Ariz.) of now-No. 10 Stanford was named the 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year following a stellar junior season. She returns to collegiate action this year as do her fellow Top 3 Finalists Katelyn Boyd (Phoenix, Ariz.) of Arizona State and Thomas of Missouri.

ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25

2012 Season – Pre-season – January 24, 2012

Rank

Team

2011 Record

Points

Final 2011 Ranking

1.

Arizona State (19)

60-6

497

1

2.

Alabama

53-11

438

3

3.

California

45-13

425

5

4.

Florida (1)

56-13

420

2

5.

Missouri

53-10

411

6

6.

Oklahoma

43-19

408

7

7.

Baylor

47-15

372

4

8.

Arizona

43-18

331

11

9.

Tennessee

49-12

316

16

10.

Stanford

42-17

314

10

11.

Oregon

42-16

252

14

12.

Georgia

51-14

239

9

13.

UCLA

36-19

235

16

14.

Washington

37-15

232

15

15.

Texas A&M

44-15

228

13

T16.

Michigan

53-6

211

17

T16.

Oklahoma State

40-20

211

8

18.

Kentucky

40-16

203

12

19.

Texas

46-10

195

19

T20.

LSU

40-18

106

22

T20.

Nebraska

41-14

106

21

22.

Houston

44-18

72

18

23.

Georgia Tech

45-12

62

24

24.

Louisiana-Lafayette

51-11

52

25

25.

Notre Dame

46-11

40

23

Parenthesis denotes first place votes. Dropped Out: None New to Poll: None

Others receiving votes: Syracuse (37); Ohio State (18); Tulsa (15); BYU (8); North Carolina (8); DePaul (6); San Diego State (6); Texas Tech (6); Auburn (3); Fresno State (3); South Florida (3); Florida State (2); Lipscomb (2); Louisville (2); Northwestern (2); Fordham (1); UMASS (1); UNLV (1)

Defending Champs Arizona State Are Unanimous No. 1 in USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll

January 24, 2012

 STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Arizona State Sun Devils will began the 2012 exactly where they left off last year, as the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation, according to the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll, that was released by the organization on Tuesday.

The defending national champion Sun Devils (60-6) claimed all 30 first-place votes in the poll to top the rankings for the sixth straight edition dating back to last season.  Florida (56-13) and Alabama (53-11) also remained unchanged in the preseason poll, finishing the rankings in second and third, respectively.  Rounding out the top five was California (45-13) who moved up one spot from the final poll last year to fourth, while Oklahoma (43-19) shot up two spots to fifth.

The only school to drop out of the poll from 2011 to 2012 was DePaul (41-15).  Despite leading the receiving votes column, the Blue Demons swapped spots with Big East rival Louisville (38-20), who joined the fray at No. 25.

 The Pac-12 conference led the way in the poll with seven teams, while the Big XII and the SEC each had six teams.  Other conferences placing teams in the rankings were the Big Ten and Conference USA with two schools each, while the Big East and the Sun Belt each had one representative.

The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 30 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference. Final 2011 records are shown, first-place votes are in parentheses.

 

Rank

Team

2011 Record

Totals

Final 2011 Poll

1

Arizona St. (30)

60-6

750

1

2

Florida

56-13

690

2

3

Alabama

53-11

675

3

4

California

45-13

651

5

5

Oklahoma

43-19

603

7

6

Missouri

53-13

594

6

7

Baylor

47-15

567

4

8

Arizona

43-18

515

11

9

Stanford

42-17

467

10

10

Georgia

51-14

455

9

11

Oklahoma St.

42-20

444

8

12

Washington

37-16

402

12

13

Kentucky

40-16

360

13

14

Tennessee

49-12

348

18

15

Michigan

53-6

324

17

16

Oregon

42-16

309

15

17

Texas A&M

44-15

297

14

18

Texas

46-10

278

20

19

UCLA

36-19

247

19

20

Houston

44-18

185

16

21

Nebraska

41-14

173

21

22

LSU

40-18

119

22

23

La.-Lafayette

51-11

95

23

24

Tulsa

46-15

45

24

24

Louisville

38-20

32

RV

 

Dropped Out: No. 25 DePaul

 

Others Receiving Votes: DePaul 23, Syracuse 18, Georgia Tech 17, Notre Dame 12, Fresno St. 10, East Carolina 8, Hawai‘i 7, Hofstra 7, San Diego St. 6, North Carolina 5, Texas Tech 5, Florida St. 2, Massachusetts 2, BYU 1, Fordham 1, New Mexico St. 1.

 

 

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