Cal Picked Fourth in Preseason Coaches' Poll

Jan. 16, 2003

The University of California softball team, the 2002 National Champion, was selected to tie for fourth place by conference coaches in the 2003 preseason poll, announced Thursday afternoon by the Pac-10.

For the second consecutive year, UCLA took first place, garnering 46 points, including five of the first place votes. In second place, Arizona earned 44 points and the other three first place votes.

Washington finished third with 33 points while Stanford tied with the Golden Bears with 30. Rounding out the rest of the poll was Arizona State with 20 points, Oregon State with 14 and Oregon with seven.

In 2002, Cal posted a school record 56 wins (56-19), while finishing fourth in conference play with an 11-2 mark. The Bears went a perfect 8-0 in postseason play, earning the school's first-ever National title in women's sports history. Head coach Diane Ninemire enters her 16th year at the helm with a career record of 653-336, just 36 games shy of breaking the school record for most victories by a head coach, held by former baseball coach Bob Milano (688).

The Pac-10 placed seven of its eight squads in the NCAA Tournament last season, with four teams advancing to the WCWS. For the second consecutive year (ninth time overall), two Pac-10 teams squared off in the National Championship game, with Cal blanking Arizona, 6-0. Additionally, Pac-10 teams finished 1-2-3 in the final 2002 USA Today/NFCA poll, for a total of seven teams ranked in the Top 25, with the Bears leading the way as No. 1.

The 2003 Cal softball season will get under way on Friday, January 31 as the Bears host San Jose State and Tennessee at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, at Levine-Fricke Field.

2003 Pacific-10 Conference Softball Coaches' Preseason Poll

School (First Place Votes) Points1. UCLA (5) 462. Arizona (3) 443. Washington 334. California 30 Stanford 306. Arizona State 207. Oregon State 148. Oregon 7

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