Redbird Softball Jumps to No. 18 in National Poll
March 6, 2007
NORMAL, Ill. - After making its debut in the poll last week, the Illinois State softball team made the biggest jump of the week among all ranked teams, climbing to No. 18 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top-25 Poll.
Boasting a record of 15-5 on the year, the Redbirds were ranked No. 25 last week in their first ever appearance in the poll and leaped seven spots, more than any other team currently in the poll, settling in at No. 18 this week. A 4-1 record and championship title at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament in Los Angeles last weekend fueled the jump.
Redbird head coach Melinda Fischer is pleased with the recognition her program is receiving.
"Obviously this is just great for the team, the Redbird athletic department and Illinois State as a whole," said Fischer. "We had a great weekend of softball out at UCLA. It meant a lot to the program when we defeated two ranked teams on the same day. The team is really focused on what they need to do right now. I was also really proud that after we stumbled a bit on Saturday, we focused in and rebounded and were able to beat Florida again and come out strong and withstand the rally-type situation we were in with Long Beach State and end up on top on Sunday. I'm really excited for the team right now. They've put in a lot of energy, work and dedication into the game and now they're getting something to show for it."
Illinois State posted three wins over ranked squads at the tournament with two victories over then-No. 17 Florida and a 2-1 decision over the No. 12 Bruins on March 2. After falling to the `Birds, the Gators fell to No. 24, while UCLA dropped to No. 16 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
The Redbirds own a 6-3 record against ranked opponents this season and only four teams on ISU's 2007 schedule are currently ranked higher than the `Birds. No. 5 Oklahoma (2) and No. 6 Arizona State combine for all three of Illinois State's ranked losses.
Southern Illinois is the only other Missouri Valley Conference school in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top-25. The Redbirds passed the Salukis in the rankings, though SIU made the jump to No. 20 this week after last week's No. 22 ranking.
Illinois State looks to defend its highest-ever ranking on March 10-11 in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where the `Birds travel to compete in the Southeast Missouri State Spring Classic.