0

UGA NOTEBOOK: Murray's ankle only sprained, not broken; Lady Bulldogs softball No. 1 for first time ever; Heritage Hall set for dedication Thursday

Photo by Dave Martin

Photo by Dave Martin

ATHENS -- University of Georgia sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray merely suffered a sprained ankle during a pick-up soccer game over the weekend on the UGA campus and will begin rehab immediately under the supervision of the sports medicine staff.

Bulldog nation was in a frenzy Monday when the school's student newspaper, The Red and Black, reported that Murray had broken his foot in two different places during the game, but later retracted that story after UGA Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson evaluated Murray and X-rays taken were negative, and an MRI performed Monday confirmed a right ankle sprain.

He is expected to be available for spring practice.

--------------------------------------------

UGA SOFTBALL NO. 1 TEAM IN NATION FOR FIRST TIME EVER:

ATHENS -- For the first time in school history, the University of Georgia softball team is ranked No. 1 according to the latest release of the USA Today/National Fast Pitch Coaches Association Division I Top 25 Poll.

Georgia (10-0) received 16 first-place votes and totaled 721 points to lead the poll.

The No. 1 ranking is also a first for head coach Lu Harris-Champer. Harris-Champer developed Southern Mississippi into a WCWS team in 1999 and 2000, and in 2000, the Golden Eagles were ranked No. 4 at the end of the year.

Harris-Champer then joined a Georgia program that had never been ranked in an NFCA poll in 2001, and in 2002, she guided the Bulldogs to their first-ever ranking at No. 20 in the fourth week of the season. In just three seasons at the helm, Harris-Champer lifted the Bulldogs to a No. 5 ranking in weeks seven through nine of the 2004 season. That ranking was the highest in program history until the end of the 2009 season.

The Lady Bulldogs have been ranked in every USA Today/NFCA poll since it was started in 2008.

This year, Georgia has won 10 straight games to start the 2011 season, winning two home tournaments while outscoring opponents 87-18. As a team, the Bulldogs are batting .383 with 17 home runs and hold a slugging percentage of .652. From the mound, the Georgia pitching staff has limited opponents to a .176 batting average while striking out 75 batters and walking just 18.

Tuesday's No. 1 ranking highlights a steady climb in the NFCA poll that follows the 2011 senior class. Six of Georgia's eight seniors are in their fourth year with the program, and they began their collegiate careers on an unranked team at the start of the 2008 season. By the end of the 2008 campaign, Georgia finished ranked 17th.

As this year's group of seniors continued to develop and the program continued to build in 2009, the climb up the poll accelerated with the Lady Bulldogs garnering a No. 4 ranking in the final poll after making Georgia's first Women's College World Series appearance and advancing to the final four.

In 2010, the Lady Bulldogs remained a strong national force consistently ranked in the top 12 before going on to finish the year as the only repeat team in the WCWS final four earning the program's highest ranking at the time at No. 3.

That No. 3 ranking carried over to the 2011 preseason poll and after the first week of this season the Bulldogs made history with their first-ever No 2 ranking.

Georgia's reign at No. 1 will begin with five contests this weekend at the Cathedral City Classic in California. The Lady Bulldogs will play No. 19 Oklahoma State (8-2) and No. 6 Oklahoma (11-1) on Thursday, No. 24 Texas A&M (6-3) and Oregon State on Friday, and No. 3 Arizona on Saturday.