Softball sets national record for top spot

No team in the history of the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings has spent more consecutive time in the No. 1 position as the 2007 version of the Tennessee Lady Vol softball squad (50-2, 20-2 SEC).

With the release of the new poll on Tuesday by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA), the Orange & White are now beginning their 11th straight week in NCAA Division I's top spot, besting the 2004 Arizona and 2005 Michigan teams, who sat at No. 1 for 10 consecutive rankings.

The SEC continues to hold down the nation's top two spots as Alabama (46-4) reaped the lone first-place vote of the 20 total nods that wasn't received by the Lady Vols.

The Oklahoma Sooners (47-5) climbed a spot into third, while defending national champion Arizona (34-9) fell from No. 3 to No. 4 after suffering a 6-3 loss on April 18 to current No. 7 squad Arizona State (42-11).

Tennessee's upcoming weekend foe, the LSU Tigers (46-6), rose to fifth to set up a top 5 showdown in Baton Rouge La., this Saturday and Sunday.

The series opener (4 p.m. ET) and finale (2 p.m. ET) will each be broadcast live on ESPN2 with Beth Mowins and U.S. National Team member Jessica Mendoza on the call.

LADY VOL ROWING: The Tennessee rowing team is ranked in the top 10 in the country.

Last weekend, Tennessee's top Novice Eight crew closed out the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships on a high note with a victory in the petite final on Melton Hill Lake.

After missing the grand final by 2.8 seconds, the Lady Vol shell manned by coxswain Sydney Newman, Erica Smith, Margaret Webb, Stephanie Hunley, Laura Miller, Anna Nilsen, Brittany Sehring, Jená Murphy and Jewell Ludwigsen came back with the group's strongest showing of the year. The Orange and White, who clocked in at 7:17.90, topped runner-up Cincinnati by 12.63 seconds or a three-length advantage. Tulsa was two seats in back of the Bearcats, while Murray State came in five seconds behind the Golden Hurricanes.

The varsity rowers continue their season this Saturday, April 28 in Derby, Conn., as they square off against No. 2 Brown and No. 4 Yale on the water of the Housatonic River.


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