June 14, 2006
After advancing to their first ever NCAA Regional Championship game almost a month ago, the Auburn softball team achieved another first on Wednesday. The Tigers are ranked 21st in the final USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Collegiate Poll, marking the first time in program history the team went from start to finish in the same season ranked in the top 25.
The Tigers received 143 points in the poll's season finale, edging out No. 22 Texas A&M, which had 127. The Tigers spent all 15 weeks of the season ranked in the NFCA Top 25.
Auburn (36-22 overall, 15-15 Southeastern Conference) began the 2006 season ranked 17th in NFCA's preseason poll, which, along with the Feb. 22 poll, marked the highest point of the season for the Tigers. Auburn never fell past 21st, spending two weeks at 17th, four at No. 18, four at 19th, three at No. 20 and the final two polls at 21.
Auburn has now been ranked in the NFCA Top 25 Collegiate Poll for 25 straight weeks dating back to March 16, 2005. Auburn has finished in the top 25 for the past three seasons, ranking 23rd in 2004 and 20th in 2005.
Tennessee topped all SEC teams with a No. 3 ranking in the final poll, followed by No. 7 Alabama, No. 11 LSU and 13th-ranked Georgia.
In 2006, Auburn advanced to its first ever NCAA Regional Championship game in Tucson, Ariz., falling to eventual national champion Arizona, 4-2. The Tigers defeated Marist and Ohio State prior to the final game.
Also on Wednesday, the Tigers received 32 points in the final ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Collegiate poll, just eight points behind No. 25 South Florida. Auburn had opened the 2006 season at 20th in the USA Softball Top 25, reaching its top height of No. 17 on March 28.
The Tigers are slated to return seven starters from the 2006 club that finished third in the SEC West. They say goodbye to four seniors - Ashley Griffin, Robin Martin, Amy Shaw and Krista Barts.