Spartanburg, S.C. – After inching closer to a top 25 national ranking in the previous weeks, the USC Upstate softball team secured its first-ever national ranking this week, coming in at No. 25 in the UltimateCollegeSoftball.com poll. In addition to the top 25 ranking, the Spartans continued to receive votes in the other two national polls.
"It is exciting for our program to get this kind of recognition as one of the top 25 programs in the nation," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "We have worked hard to get better as the season has progressed and will continue to work hard to achieve the goals we have set for our team. While a national ranking is nice because it shows a measure of respect, it doesn't mean that you can stop working. We have a tough game against Georgia coming up and the conference starts this weekend. I can assure you that none of the teams we play this week care if we are No. 25 or not."
After receiving votes in the UltimateCollegeSoftball.com poll in the first four weeks the poll was released this season, Upstate finally broke through this week. The Spartans collected 38 points to come in ranked No. 25 in the nation. They are ahead of Hawaii, which advanced to the College World Series a year ago, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Notre Dame and LSU.
In addition to the top 25 national ranking, Upstate continued to receive support in the NFCA/USA Today and ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 polls. The Spartans received votes in both polls and, if the polls were expanded, would be ranked No. 31 in both.
Upstate will face off against its second nationally-ranked opponent on Wednesday when it travels to Athens, Ga., to take on Georgia. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 in all three major polls last week before being swept by SEC rival Alabama over the weekend. They are ranked No. 3 by NFCA/USA Today, No. 4 by ESPN.com/USA Softball and No. 5 by UltimateCollegeSoftball.com. Upstate faced Washington when it was ranked No. 5 and No. 6 in the polls two weeks ago. The Huskies are currently ranked No. 6 by both NFCA/USA Today and ESPN.com/USA Softball and No. 7 by UltimateCollegeSoftball.com.