Huskies Ranked Ninth In ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Poll
Jan. 25, 2005
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Washington softball team is ranked ninth in the preseason edition of the 2005 ESPN.com /USA Softball Top 25 Collegiate Poll. The Huskies, who finished the 2004 season with a seventh place finish at the Women's College World Series, make their season debut in Hawaii on Feb. 3 vs. Jacksonville.
Washington returns seven starters for the 2005 campaign, including first team All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year Kristen Rivera. The Huskies also return All-American at-large selection Dominique Lastrapes at second base and All-Pac-10 picks Ashley Boek (pitcher), Kathy Fiske (third base) and Sarah Hyatt (first base).
The Huskies have made two consecutive appearances in the WCWS and look to make their eighth overall in the program's 13-year history. UW will be led by first year head coach and former Husky third baseman Heather Tarr.
California received top billing after a runner-up finish at the 2004 WCWS. The Golden Bears return the pitching duo of Kelly Anderson and Kristina Thorson and six other starters from the 2004 squad that lost to UCLA 3-1 in the national semifinal. Cal picked up 10 first place votes to capture the top spot over Pac-10 foe Arizona by just six points.
Listed at No. 2, the Wildcats garnered eight first place votes and will have the services of All-American Alicia Hollowell in the circle and head coach Mike Candrea after he took the year off to coach Team USA at the Olympics. Two-time defending champion UCLA picked up the final two first place votes to rank third in the pre-season.
At No. 4 Oklahoma becomes the only team outside of the Pac-10 to break into the top five. The Sooners return pitching ace Kami Keiter and will have the services of All-America catcher Heather Scaglione, All-American Christina Enea and sophomore sensation Norelle Dickson. Stanford becomes the fourth team from the Pac-10 to be ranked in the top five finishing behind Oklahoma.
Despite finishing the 2004 season with a losing record (24-25), the Texas Longhorns enter the 2005 pre-season ranked sixth with the return of 2004 Olympian and 2003 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Cat Osterman in the circle. Louisiana Lafayette, LSU, Washington and Georgia complete the top 10 selections.
No. 23 Texas A&M and No. 24 Southern Illinois are the only two teams not ranked at the end of the 2004 season to enter the preseason poll. Auburn and Hofstra were not among the top 25 pre-season list despite finishing the 2004 season ranked 20th and 24th respectively.
By Conference, the Pac-10 leads the way with all seven of its eight schools ranked in the Top 25 and five of the seven ranked in the top 10. The Big XII is represented by five schools and has Oklahoma and Texas representing in the Top 10. The SEC has four representatives with two from the East (Georgia and Tennessee) and two from the West (LSU and Alabama). The ACC and Big 10 each have two schools in the preseason poll.
The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll is voted on by NCAA Division I coaches representing 15 different ASA regions and 11 different collegiate conferences. The poll is also voted on by selected softball media members. First-place votes are in parentheses.
Rank Team1. California (10)2. Arizona (8)3. UCLA (2)4. Oklahoma5. Stanford6. Texas7. Louisiana Lafayette8. LSU9. Washington10. Georgia11. Florida State12. Michigan13. Tennessee14. Oregon15. Alabama16. Oregon State17. Fresno State18. Baylor19. Long Beach State20. Nebraska21. Georgia Tech22. South FloridaT23. Texas A&MT23. Southern Illinois25. Illinois