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Kentucky softball team ranked No. 18 by coaches

The University of Kentucky softball team is ranked No. 18 in the nation in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason poll announced Tuesday.

This marks the third straight season that Kentucky will begin the season ranked in the top 25 under the direction of ninth-year head coach Rachel Lawson.

The Southeastern Conference continued its recent dominance of national polling, taking four of the top five slots in the NFCA Top 25 with No. 1 Florida, No. 3 LSU, No. 4 Auburn and No. 5 Alabama.

Kentucky will start the season Feb. 12 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., against No. 24 Notre Dame before also facing No. 6 Oregon, No. 22 Arizona State and Utah, who received 22 votes.

Kentucky will have seven games against the top six teams in the country this season – with three games each against No. 3 LSU (April 9-11), No. 4 Auburn (April 1-3) and No. 6 Oregon (Feb. 13).

2016 USA Today/NFCA Coaches Preseason Poll

First-place votes in parentheses

1. Florida (26)

2. Michigan (2)

3. LSU (2)

4. Auburn (1)

5. Alabama (1)

6. Oregon

7. UCLA

8. Tennessee

9. Oklahoma

10. Florida State

11. Louisiana-Lafayette

12. Georgia

13. Arizona

14. Minnesota

15. Missouri

16. Baylor

17. UCF

18. Kentucky

19. James Madison

20. Washington

21. California

22. Arizona State

23. North Carolina State

24. Notre Dame

25. South Alabama

Others receiving votes: Texas A&M (38), North Dakota State (32), Utah (22), Hofstra (14), Nebraska (13), Texas (12), Northwestern (10), Ohio State (6), North Carolina (6), Florida Atlantic (5), Mississippi State (5), USC Upstate (4), UAB (4),Western Kentucky (4), Fresno State (3), Kansas (2), Louisville (2), Pittsburgh (2).

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