Feb. 18, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - After winning the 2014 Texas Classic over the weekend to extend its best start to a season in program history, the University of Kentucky softball team has moved several spots up to No. 5 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 and No. 6 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, it was announced Tuesday.
Kentucky (10-0) moved up two spots in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and three positions in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25. The rankings are the highest in school history for Kentucky, who entered the top 10 of both polls for the first time in program history last week.
The rankings mark the 18th consecutive week UK has landed inside the top 25, which is the longest stretch of consecutive rankings in school history. Kentucky was ranked in 17 consecutive polls from February 2011 to February 2012. UK started this 18-week stretch last year on Feb. 12 and never left the rankings.
Kentucky made the move up the rankings by continuing its best start in program history last weekend with two wins over then-No. 15 Texas and Louisiana Tech and one win vs. IPFW, who is receiving votes in this week's USA Today/NFCA Top 25. The five wins moved UK's winning streak to 10 games, which is the longest in school history. The winning stretch surpassed the previous record of eight games. The Wildcats have won eight or more straight games six times in school history, with five of those streaks coming under head coach Rachel Lawson.
So far this season, Kentucky has three wins over ranked teams. UK took down the defending national champions and then-No. 2 Oklahoma in its opening weekend before defeating then-No. 15 Texas twice last weekend. Both Oklahoma and Texas advanced to the 2013 Women's College World Series. During Lawson's seven-year tenure at Kentucky the Wildcats have 43 wins over ranked foes, including 25 against top-10 ranked teams.
UK will have to work hard to keep its high ranking as it is scheduled to play 24 games the rest of the season against teams ranked or receiving votes in either poll. Starting this weekend with a game against No. 5/7 Michigan, UK is scheduled for three-game sets against No. 2/3 Tennessee, No. 12/16 Texas A&M, No. 16/18 Missouri, No. 17/17 Georgia, and Auburn, Arkansas and Mississippi State, who are all receiving votes. UK will also have a home-and-home set with Louisville, who is receiving votes.
The Wildcats will continue their 15-game road stretch to start the season next weekend in Boca Raton, Fla., at the FAU Invitational. UK will play five games in three days in the Sunshine State, starting on Friday with a doubleheader against Penn State and Florida Atlantic beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The Wildcats will face Kent State and No. 4/6 Michigan on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. ET, before a 9 a.m. ET battle with Penn State on Sunday to conclude the tournament. Live scores from every game will be available at UKathletics.com.
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