NORMAN, Okla. – The Oklahoma softball team is the consensus No. 2 team in the preseason polls. After being ranked second in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Preseason Top 25, the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Preseason Poll followed suit and also tabbed the Sooners at No. 2 on Tuesday.
The defending national champions, OU garnered five of the 20 first-place votes and earned 456 points to sit just three points behind No. 1 Tennessee, which was given six first-place votes. Third-ranked Florida matched the Lady Volunteers with six first-place votes, while No. 5 Washington earned two and No. 7 Arizona State received one.
Rounding out the top-10 were No. 4 Michigan, No. 6 Alabama, No. 8 Oregon, No. 9 Nebraska and No. 10 Texas.
Oklahoma’s season opening opponent, Kentucky, was ranked 14th in the poll. Other ranked opponents for OU included the aforementioned Washington, Arizona State, Nebraska and Texas, as well as No. 13 UCLA, No. 15 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 16 Baylor, No. 19 LSU and No. 25 UAB.
Additional scheduled opponents that received votes were Arkansas (21 points), Tulsa (14), Oregon State (8) and Syracuse (3).
Oklahoma returns seven starters from last season’s national championship team that finished 57-4 overall and 15-2 in the Big 12 to earn its second straight conference title. Among those returning are USA Softball National Player of the Year finalist Lauren Chamberlain, Second-Team All-American Shelby Pendley and Second-Team All-Region honoree Destinee Martinez.
The Sooners have been ranked in each one of USA Softball’s polls since its inception in 2003 and have been ranked no worse than second in each of the past 19 polls released.