UCLA Ranked No. 3 in NFCA Preseason Coaches Poll
LOS ANGELES – The UCLA softball team was ranked No. 3 in the 2022 USA Today/NFCA Division I Preseason Coaches Poll, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) announced on Tuesday.
This marks the 13th time UCLA has entered the season in the top three of the NFCA preseason poll since the organization began announcing the preseason poll in 1997. Additionally, this is the 20th time the Bruins have started in the NFCA's top 10 since 1997. UCLA, Oklahoma, Michigan and Washington are the only programs to appear in every NFCA preseason poll.
— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) February 2, 2022
Oklahoma was chosen as the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation garnering all 32 first-place votes and 800 total points. Ahead of the Bruins at No. 2 is Alabama with 758 total points. UCLA hauled in 700 points. Florida State and Oklahoma State rounded out the top five.
Also representing the Pac-12 in the top 10 is No. 7 Washington and No. 9 Arizona. Oregon was ranked at No. 18, Arizona State at No. 21 and Stanford received four votes.
UCLA was also slotted at No. 3 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Poll and No. 4 in D1Softball's Preseason Rankings.
Coming off a 47-7 (19-2 Pac-12) record in 2021, a No. 5 final ranking in the USA Today/NFCA poll and a sixth-straight appearance at the Women's College World Series, UCLA is returning a veteran team featuring 10 players who appeared in at least 40 games and 17 total letter winners who accounted for 63% of its hits and 82% of its runs.
The Bruins have also added six newcomers, including freshman utility Savannah Pola who was slotted as one of D1Softball's Top 75 impact freshman and left-handed grad transfer pitcher Lauren Shaw from Iowa who posted a career 2.26 earned run average over three seasons as a Hawkeye.
Among UCLA's returners are National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Americans Aaliyah Jordan, Megan Faraimo and Maya Brady on the First Team as well as Briana Perez on the Third Team.