Jan. 26, 2010

Courtesy of USA Softball

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – After finishing the 2009 season with a 51-12 record and a NCAA National Championship title, the University of Washington begins the 2010 softball season with a No. 1 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Pre-Season Collegiate Top 25 Poll announced today by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA). ASA/USA Softball is in its eighth season of releasing the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll along with weekly Players of the Week and ultimately the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

Washington, with 17 first-place votes, posted a 5-1 record at the 2009 Women’s College World Series, defeating Florida 3-2 in the second game of the Championship Series after defeating the Gators 8-0 in the first game. Florida dropped to a pre-season fifth-ranking after finished up the year with a 63-5 record, the only team in 2009 to post single digits in the loss column.  

Alabama, with one first-place vote, starts out the 2010 campaign with a second-place ranking, after finishing last season with a 54-11 record. No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Arizona, with one first-place vote, round out the Top 5 in the pre-season poll.

No. 6 UCLA is the other holder of a first-place vote with one and is the only team along with No. 10 Oklahoma in the top ten that did not make a 2009 WCWS appearance. Oklahoma made the biggest leap in the poll, finishing last year at No. 17.

After receiving votes in the final 2009 poll, No. 23 ULL and No. 24 Fresno State cracked the Top 25 while Jacksonville State and North Dakota State dropped out, but both are still receiving votes.

The Top 50 Watch List for the 2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be announced Wednesday while the first regular season poll of the year will be released on Feb. 16.

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