Spartan Softball Ends Season Ranked 63rd Final NCAA RPI
Spartanburg, S.C. – After finishing the season with a 41-15 record and an appearance in the championship game of the A-Sun Tournament, the USC Upstate softball team ended the season ranked 63rd in the final NCAA RPI ranking released by the organization this week.
Upstate recorded its lowest final RPI ranking in three years playing on the Division I level in 2010. The Spartans finished the 2008 season, when it claimed a share of the A-Sun regular season championship in their first year playing on the DI level, ranked 76th. Last year, Upstate finished the year ranked 83rd.
"The RPI ranking indicates improvement over the last two years," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "You always want to see the program move forward. By winning 41 games, earning a spot in the A-Sun Tournament in our first year of eligibility and advancing to the championship game of the tournament are all positive signs that the program is going in the right direction. We just need to build on our success and not rest on what we have achieved. Our goal is to win the A-Sun Tournament and advance into the NCAA Tournament with a chance to make some noise. We have to use our success and progress over the last three years to build toward that goal."
Upstate was second in the A-Sun in the RPI ranking, finishing behind regular season and tournament champion Lipscomb at No. 36. Stetson was third behind Lipscomb and Upstate, ranked 79th in the nation. Kennesaw State was 94th and Jacksonville was the fifth A-Sun school to crack the top 100, coming in at No. 99. The Owls were followed by Florida Gulf Coast (108), North Florida (133), Mercer (141), Campbell (155), ETSU (193) and Belmont (256).
In addition to recording its best RPI ranking in three years and finishing second among the A-Sun schools, Upstate also claimed the lowest RPI of any school in South Carolina. The Spartans were the only Palmetto State team to be ranked in the top 100. South Carolina, which was shutout twice by Upstate during the season, was the second-ranked team in the state at No. 109 and was followed by Winthrop (111), Charleston Southern (126), Furman (162), Coastal Carolina (182), College of Charleston (202), Presbyterian (219) and S.C. State (285).
Fast-tracked into full NCAA Division I membership by the University, Upstate softball topped the 40-win plateau for the first time on the DI level and the fourth time in the last six years. The Spartans claimed a tie for fourth in the regular season standings with its second straight 11-9 mark in the A-Sun and earned the No. 4 seed in the A-Sun Tournament. The Spartans dropped their first game in the A-Sun Tournament, but claimed three straight wins over Lipscomb, Jacksonville and Stetson to advance to the championship game of the tournament. Morgan Childers, Crislyn Chewning and Katie Zauner were all-conference selections, while Childers, Kim Brasil and Lauren Quevedo were selected to the all-tournament team at the A-Sun Tournament.