LEXINGTON, Ky. – After posting a school record for wins in a single season with 41 and advancing to NCAA Super Regionals for the second time in school history, the University of Kentucky softball team put a final stamp on its 2013 season, finishing the year ranked in the top 14 of both the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 and USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25, it was announced recently.
Kentucky, which ended the season with an overall record of 41-21, finished 12th nationally in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, which ties the highest final ranking in the poll in school history. Kentucky also finished 12th in 2011 after its first-ever trip to a NCAA Super Regional. UK was 14th nationally in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25, which is the school’s second highest final ranking in that poll after the 2011 team finished 13th.
The Wildcats started the season receiving votes in both polls before a strong opening weekend pushed sixth-year head coach Rachel Lawson and Co. into the top 25 of both polls. UK stayed in the top 25 in both polls the rest of the season with its final ranking of No. 12/14 being the highest mark in both listings.
Kentucky earned the high ranking after playing one of the best schedules in the country. In all, UK played 34 of its 62 games against teams that finished the season ranked or receiving votes in either poll with 17 wins in those games. UK had nine wins during the season against teams ranked at the time UK defeated them, including five top-10 teams.
UK’s 2013 season was filled with accomplishments as it made its fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, becoming one of 23 schools nationally to claim that honor. The Wildcats were chosen as one of 16 national seeds in the tournament, hosting a NCAA Regional for the first time school history. UK won the Lexington Regional and advanced to the Tempe Super Regional before falling to highly ranked Arizona State in a best-of-three series.
The Wildcats’ accomplishments started when the team began the season with a 19-4 record, tying the best start in school history. In that fast start, UK won eight consecutive games, which tied the longest winning streak in school history.