DAHLONEGA, GA – Following a perfect 4-0 week, including a win over a ranked team, the North Georgia softball team holds strong as the No. 3 team in the country in the latest edition of the NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll released on Wednesday afternoon.
The Saints retain their top 10 ranking have now been among the nation's top 10 for 23 straight dating back nearly two years ago to the day on March 5, 2009, when North Georgia checked at No. 9 in the country. Since that time, the Saints have never left the top 10, and have spent 12 of those weeks as the No. 1 team in the land.
Angelo State makes their season debut as the No. 1 team in the land, edging out previous No. 1 Valdosta State by a single point to take home the top ranking. The Rambelles (17-0) garnered six of the 16 first-place votes and 389 points, while No. 2 Valdosta (4-0) picked up eight first-place votes and 388 points. North Georgia (17-2) received the other two first-place votes and finished the poll in third for the second consecutive week.
Alabama-Huntsville (7-0-1) and Hawaii Pacific (10-2) also held onto their previous spots by finishing in fourth and fifth, respectively. Tampa (12-1) and Lock Haven (5-0) made their season debuts in the rankings this week at 16th and 17th, respectively, while Lewis (4-1) also cracked the Top 25 for the first time this year at No. 24.
Dropping out of the poll were a pair of teams that North Georgia has defeated this season as No. 20 California (Pa.) and No. 21 Wayne State both fell from the top 25 ranks in the fourth poll of the regular season of the year.
The only other Peach Belt Conference member in the poll is Flagler College who went just 3-3, but stayed as the No. 22 team in the land with a 19-3 record.
The Saints will open another difficult weekend on the road at the Mid South Classic, taking on 15th-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne in a matchup of last year's NCAA Division II Southeast Super Regional. North Georgia is 3-0 all-time against the Bears, with all three games coming during the NCAA Tournament.
Following Friday's matchup with L-R, the Saints will play a tripleheader marathon on Saturday, battling Catawba, Coker, and Wingate, before coming back and taking on LeMoyne in the weekend finale.