Bolstered by a cool Cat, Texas climbs to the top
Posted: Thursday May 4, 2006 12:10PM; Updated: Thursday May 4, 2006 12:10PM
After a one week hiatus, the University of Texas returns to the top of the All-Sports Rankings, thanks in large part to Cat Osterman and the rest of the second-ranked softball team. UCLA, which held the top spot last week, falls to No. 2 and Pepperdine continues to surprise, holding off Notre Dame to claim the final spot in the Top 10.
In case you're a first timer to the rankings, we take the Top 25 in all spring sports and award points based on the standings (a No. 1 ranking gets 25 points, a No. 25 gets one point, etc.) with a little more weight given to baseball and softball. We then crunch all these numbers and come up with the rankings. Again, these are for the spring sports season only, so if your school has a great football or basketball team, it has no impact on these rankings.
1. Texas (152.5 points) -- Senior pitcher Cat Osterman's streak of excellence continued as she was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week for the third consecutive week. It is the ninth time she's received the honor this season and the 25th of her career. Osterman is now 32-1 on the season with a 0.28 ERA and 492 strikeouts in only 224 innings pitched. The No. 2 Longhorns clinched the Big 12 regular season title. The conference postseason tournament starts next Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
2. UCLA (145.5) -- The No. 2-ranked men's volleyball squad will take on Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne in the national semifinals on Thursday night. After a 10-13 midseason swoon, the Bruins have won 12 straight matches. Sophomore libero (that's a position) Tony Ker spoke about how teams can no longer look at the Bruins as pushovers. "I think all the teams need to take us pretty seriously," he said. "We're coming here to win and we all have one goal in mind. I think we deserve to be here just as much as everyone else does."
3. North Carolina (136.5) -- The No. 2-ranked Tar Heels baseball squad is red-hot after a 17-3 April that improved their record to 39-8 (18-6 in the ACC). The team is currently on an eight-day break for final exams, which may be the only thing that can quiet their bats. The Heels have slugged an ACC-high 57 home runs, led by ACC Player of the Week Benji Johnson, who hit four in four games last week. The team is back in action with games against Campbell on May 9 and Winthrop on May 10.
4. Georgia (117) -- The accolades keep coming for the No. 1-ranked men's golf team. Junior Chris Kirk was named SEC Player of the Year, Brian Harman won Freshman of the Year honors, and Chris Haack was named the Coach of the Year. Kirk leads the SEC with a 70.6 scoring average while Harman ranks third (72.5). "For Kirk and Harman, this is deserved recognition," Haack said. "They have been very steady, very consistent all year, so to see them honored in this way is exciting. To me, [SEC Coach of the Year] is a team award, and I share it with all the players and [assistant coach] Ryan Hybl. The guys have made my job pretty easy."
5. Arizona State (105) -- The sixth-ranked softball team blew a chance to take over the No. 1 ranking last weekend when it was swept in a two-game series by top-ranked UCLA. The struggle continued last night when the squad lost again to No. 3 Arizona, 10-0. The Sun Devils will try and get back on track when they return to Farrington Stadium to host No. 8 Stanford (34-12, 7-8 Pac-10) and No. 7 Cal (40-9, 8-7 Pac-10) on Friday and Saturday night. Wins in both games will give the Devils some momentum as they heard into the Pac-10 tournament.