Stanford Ranked Eighth in Pre-Season Poll

Jan. 30, 2007

Stanford, Ca - The 2007 Stanford softball season is just around the corner, and the nationally-ranked Cardinal is getting positive reviews in the pre-season polls.

The USA Today/NFCA poll finds Stanford ranked eighth in the pre-season in a vote conducted by NCAA Division I head coaches representing each conference. Six Pac-10 teams are ranked in the Top 10 including top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Arizona.

The ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 pre-season poll has also just been released, and the Cardinal is one of seventh conference teams ranked. Stanford is ranked ninth while Arizona is ranked #1.

The Cardinal, traditionally ranked among the top teams in the nation, features seven returning starters and ten letter winners from a 2006 team that chalked up an impressive 42-18 record and a trip to the NCAA Super Regional.

'We have proven players who are returning in addition to an excellent pitching staff and an outstanding freshmen class who will create a lot of energy and excitement,' said veteran head coach John Rittman. 'We are excited about the ranking, but we know that this is just a preseason poll and we need to be ready to play once the season starts.'

Year-after-year, the Pacific-10 Conference has been considered the strongest collegiate softball league in the country. The Pac-10 has captured 18 softball titles in the 25-year history of the NCAA Softball Championship. Last year, the conference set a record with seven teams winning NCAA Regionals. Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, UCLA, and Washington all reached the Super Regionals last season, with four teams (Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, and UCLA) marching on to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. The Pac-10's four representatives in the WCWS made up half the field and was the most of any conference.

In the 2007 Pac-10 pre-season poll, the league's coaches have picked Stanford to finish fifth. Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State and Oregon were picked just ahead of the Cardinal. California and Washington were picked to finish sixth while Oregon was picked to finish eighth.

Stanford starts its 2007 season at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona (Feb. 9-11), and has its first home contest on Tuesday, February 13th, when it hosts Sacramento State for a single game at Boyd and Jill smith Family Stadium.

In other pre-season news, Maddy Coon and Jackie Rinehart are among 50 top collegiate softball players who have been selected to the Amateur Softball Association's 'Watch List' for the sixth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.

The 2007 preseason watch list is comprised of 50 players representing 33 schools and eleven different NCAA Division I conferences. Besides Coon and Rinehart, 13 other Pac-10 players make up the Top 50 pre-season list. The Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2007 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

Coon, a sophomore infielder, hit .353 last year and led the team in home runs (9), doubles (13) and RBI (40). Rinehart, a senior outfielder, started all 60 game last year and was third on the team with a .352 average.

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