LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky softball team will begin its 18th season on Feb. 6 ranked 14th nationally in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Collegiate Top 25, its highest preseason ranking in the poll in school history, USA Softball announced Tuesday.
Kentucky, which earned a No. 12 ranking in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Top 25 last week, will begin the season with its highest preseason ranking in either poll ever. UK started the 2012 season ranked 13th in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and 18th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.
UK finished the 2013 season with a No. 12 final ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, which tied its highest mark in that poll in school history. The Wildcats went 41-21 en route to a NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2013 and return 15 letterwinners from that accomplished squad, including eight starters.
The Southeastern Conference led the way with eight teams ranked in the preseason top 25 in No. 1 Tennessee, No. 3 Florida, No. 6 Alabama, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 14 Kentucky, No. 17 Missouri, No. 19 LSU and No. 21 Georgia, with Arkansas and Auburn both receiving votes. UK is scheduled to play 11 teams that are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll, including top-ranked Tennessee, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 4 Michigan and No. 10 Texas.