Seven Pac-10 Schools Ranked Among Top-25 in USA Today/NFCA Pre-Season Poll

Jan. 30, 2006

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.-- Seven of the eight Pac-10 softball teams -- UCLA, ARIZONA, STANFORD, CALIFORNIA, WASHINGTON, OREGON STATE and OREGON -- are ranked among the Top-25 teams in the nation, according to the 2006 USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I pre-season poll. The poll is voted on by NCAA Division I coaches representing each conference.

Perennial power UCLA, who returns all of its starters from the 2005 roster that finished second in the Women's College World Series, is ranked No. 2 after garnering eight first-place votes. The Bruins have been ranked in the top three each year of the poll except 1998, when they were ranked No. 17.

Arizona, led by three-time All American pitcher Alicia Hollowell and 2005 USA Softball Player of the Year candidate Caitlin Lowe, was picked to finish fifth.

Co-Conference champions Stanford and California are ranked No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Washington and co-Conference champions Oregon State start the season at 13th and 15th, and Oregon rounds out the poll at 22. ARIZONA STATE was ranked out of the Top-25, but received 37 votes.

The Pac-10 leads all conferences with four teams in the top 10 and seven total in the poll. Michigan is only the second non-Pac-10 team to claim the top spot in the USA Today/NFCA pre-season poll, with Fresno State claiming top billing in 1999.

The 2006 Pac-10 softball season officially begins on Thursday, Feb. 9 when Arizona State and UCLA begin pre-season tournament action.

2006 USA Today/NFCA Pre-Season Poll

Rank  Team  	           2005 Record	      Totals1.    Michigan (21)           65-7              7142.    UCLA (8)                40-20             7043.    Tennessee               67-15             6424.    Texas                   49-13             6255.    Arizona                 45-12             6076.    Alabama                 63-15             5427.    Stanford                43-16             4628.    California              52-15             4599.    Texas A&M               47-10             44510.   Georgia                 55-15             41111.   Baylor                  51-14             38612.   Oklahoma                50-17             37113.   Washington              35-22             36114.   DePaul                  45-21             35615.   Oregon State            43-16             35116.   Northwestern            42-18             27917.   Auburn                  50-18             23118.   Louisiana-Lafayette     51-10             18219.   Florida                 41-23             14920.   Fresno State            43-12             13021.   Nebraska                36-23             12722.   Oregon                  36-25             11823.   Missouri                44-15             11224.   Iowa                    50-14             10525.   Georgia Tech            51-14             104

Parentheses denote first place votes.

Others receiving votes: BYU (93). LSU (80), Louisville (37), Arizona State (37), Florida State (36), Notre Dame (31), Southern Illinois (21), Hofstra (20), Bethune-Cookman (18), North Carolina (13), Central Michigan (13), UNLV (10), Cal State Fullerton (10), Long Beach State (9), Mississippi State (8), six others with one vote each.

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