Softball Ranked #14 In Final Polls
June 9, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - The National Fastpitch Coaches Association released its final USA Today/NFCA Division I Poll on Tuesday with UMass finishing the season ranked 14th. The Minutewomen jumped 10 spots from the last poll, on May 12 prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament. It is the highest UMass has been ranked since 1999. The Minutewomen, who finished 2009 with a 41-10 record after losing to eventual national champion Washington in an epic two-game regional final on May 17, are also ranked 14th in the final ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.
The last time UMass ranked higher in the NFCA poll was in February 1999 when the Minutewomen spent two weeks ranked 10th.
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Poll is voted on by NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each of the 30 conferences.
The Minutewomen were the top "others receiving votes" team in the NFCA Preseason Top-25 Poll and were then ranked every week the rest of the season, 15 weeks in a row, reaching as high as #19 on March 3.
UMass was ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll every week of the season, debuting at #24 in the preseason poll and reaching as high as #14 in the March 3 and 10 polls before returning to 14th in the final poll.
UMass, ranked 24th by the NFCA and 21st by USA Softball going into the NCAA Tournament, hosted Cornell, Sacred Heart, and Washington in the Amherst Regional. The Minutewomen and Huskies met in the regional final with UMass taking game one, 5-1, before Washington took game two, 6-1, in a 15-inning classic that lasted over five hours. The Huskies went on to sweep Georgia Tech in the Super Regionals and after reaching the finals of the Women's College World Series, swept then-top-ranked Florida to win the national championship and finished the season a unanimous #1.
Head Coach Elaine Sortino's Minutewomen, led by All-Americans Brandice Balschmiter and Carly Normandin, claimed their fifth-straight and 21st overall Atlantic 10 Championship in 2009 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the 15th year in a row and 19th time overall. The team's .804 winning percentage was eighth-best in the country. UMass registered wins over four ranked teams during the season, including 2008 national champ Arizona State and this year's champ, Washington.