Softball Ranked 6th in Preseason USA Today/NFCA Top 25
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Last January, the University of Kentucky softball team earned its highest preseason ranking in program history at No. 12 nationally. Twelve months later after a trip to the 2014 Women’s College World Series, Rachel Lawson and Co. have another school-record preseason ranking, sitting No. 6 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Top 25.
“It sure is rewarding to see the softball world start to put Kentucky in the national conversation every year,” Lawson said, “but I can’t stress enough right now how focused we have this group on just getting better every day. This is a different team than we had last year with different strengths and challenges. It’s critical that we take advantage of every practice we have and so far I’m happy with how this team has responded to that.”
The ranking is one spot off the highest ranking in school history, which was No. 5 last season on Feb. 18. The Wildcats finished the 2014 season with a No. 6 final ranking, which was the highest final ranking in program history. Kentucky has now been ranked in 32 consecutive top 25 listings, dating back to the 2013 season, which is a program record.
Kentucky will have to work hard to keep its high ranking as it is scheduled to play 30 games (or 54 percent of its regular-season schedule) against 12 teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the preseason poll, including nine games vs. top-five teams. The Wildcats will have three-game sets with No. 1 Florida, No. 3 Alabama, No. 12 Georgia, No. 13 Tennessee, No. 19 LSU, No. 20 Auburn, No. 24 Texas A&M and South Carolina, who is receiving votes. UK will also play two games vs. No. 5 Florida State, one game vs. No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 14 Arizona, and two games vs. Louisville, who is receiving votes.
The Southeastern Conference led the way with nine total selections, while the Pac-12 Conference added five and the Big 10 Conference had three teams in the preseason rankings. The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference and Sun Belt Conference boasted a pair of programs, respectively, while the Big East Conference and Conference USA each had one squad represented.
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.
Kentucky will begin its 19th season on Feb. 5 in Tallahassee, Fla., against Florida A&M, starting a 24-game road stretch to start the season. The Wildcats home opener will be March 11 against EKU at 5 p.m. ET. A full schedule of games for 2015 can be found at UKathletics.com.
Season tickets for the 2015 season are on sale now for $35 per seat and are general admission tickets (no reserved seating). Season tickets include all regular-season home games, including four three-game home sets in SEC play against LSU, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia. The Wildcats are also scheduled to face in-state foes Louisville, EKU and WKU along with Indiana, Florida Atlantic, Ohio and Marshall.
Tickets are available by calling the UK Ticket Office at 1-800-928-2287, in person at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office or online at www.ukathletics.com/tickets. Single-game tickets go on sale Monday, Feb. 16 at 9 a.m. ET and are $5 for adults, $2 for seniors (ages 65 or older) and youth (ages 6-18) while children ages five and under will be admitted free of charge.
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USA Today/NFCA Division I Softball Poll – Preseason -- Jan. 20, 2015
Others Receiving Votes: James Madison (36), USC Upstate (21), Wisconsin (16), UCF (16), Texas (16), North Carolina State (14), Northwestern (3), Stanford (3), South Carolina (3), Hofstra (2), Louisville (2), Cal State Fullerton (2).