– Fresh off their second straight Peach Belt Conference
tournament championship, the undefeated North Georgia softball team
has once again garnered all 16 first-place votes to top the NFCA
Division II Top 25 poll for the eighth straight week.
For the second consecutive year, North Georgia swept their way through the PBC tournament, blanking their opponents in three of the four games. The Saints are now one victory shy of tying the PBC’s all-time mark for consecutive wins in the tournament, a record held by Kennesaw State in which the club won nine straight games before being defeated by Armstrong Atlantic 11-7 on April 21, 2001.
North Georgia has won eight straight tournament games dating back to a 9-0 shutout over Georgia Southwestern in the opening round of the 2009 tournament, while six of the eight games featured shutouts.
At 45-0, North Georgia currently holds the record for most consecutive wins in Peach Belt Conference history, and sits just 10 victories shy of the all-time NCAA mark for consecutive wins at any level, held by Northern Kentucky at 55, a record established during the 2005 season.
Valdosta State trades places with Hawaii Pacific and takes over the No. 2 spot in the country, while the Sea Warriors drop back down to No. 3. Midwestern State makes an appearance in the top five, moving up three slots to No. 4, while Metro State rounds out the nation’s top five at 32-3 on the year.
No. 15 Augusta State (38-15, No. 22 Angelo State (34-10) and No. 24 Indiana (PA) (31-8) all fell out of the rankings this week, making way for Carson-Newman (33-8), Wayne State (NE) (27-7) and Nebraska-Omaha (34-9) at Nos. 22, 24 and 25, respectively.
A Peach Belt Conference team has advanced to the Division II World Series in each of the last 11 seasons, a mark the Saints will try to extend as they enter the NCAA Regional round of the playoffs looking to advance to the National Championships for the second consecutive season.
The Saints will now wait until they open play at the 2010 Southeast Regional at location yet to be determined. North Georgia will be one of eight teams split into two four-team regionals with both winners facing off in a best two of three Super Regional series.
Queen’s University of Charlotte is the only other automatic qualifier for the Southeast Region so far this season as the Royals captured their second consecutive Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship. North Georgia faced Queens in the opening round of the Southeast Regional a year ago, taking down the Royals 2-0 in Dahlonega.
The NFCA Division II Top 25 is voted on by 16 NCAA Division II head coaches, two representing each of the eight NCAA regions.