The NFCA Coaches Poll and the USA Softball announced Tuesday that Arizona will start the season ranked No. 3 behind UCLA and Washington, making for a Pac-12 top three.
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) January 26, 2021
— USA Softball (@USASoftball) January 26, 2021
The ranking is the highest Arizona has been in the polls since 2011 when the Wildcats started No. 1 in the USA Softball poll and No. 2 in the NFCA poll.
With Arizona having eight super seniors returning and the nation’s top recruiting class, the expectations are as high as they have ever been in a long time. The program is used to having that type of pressure.
Arizona softball under coach Mike Candrea has traditionally led one of the nation’s top programs winning eight national titles during his illustrious career that started in 1986.
The program’s last championship came in 2007 when Taryne Mowatt matched Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott pitch-for-pitch and outperformed the Volunteers’ star to secure the Wildcats’ eighth national title.
Since then, Arizona has been back to the championship game just once, in 2010, when the Wildcats lost to rival UCLA.
Only time will tell what this Arizona team is capable of achieving, but one thing is sure, it will be a highly competitive season yet again in the nation’s top conference, the Pac-12.
FOLLOW TROY HUTCHISON ON TWITTER!
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.