Softball Picked Third In Pac-10 Coaches Poll

Jan. 28, 2009

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - The No. 15/21 Washington Husky softball team was picked to finish third in the Pac-10 Conference by a vote of Pac-10 coaches, the conference announced Wednesday. The Huskies received two first-place votes and 36 total points to finish just behind 2008 Women's College World Series participant UCLA and defending national champion Arizona State.

UCLA was picked to finish first with 43 points, including three first-place votes, followed by Arizona State, which received 41 points and two first-place votes. Washington followed with 36 points, ahead of Arizona (34), Stanford (31), California (19) and Oregon and Oregon State, which tied for seventh with 10 points each. Seven points were awarded for a first-place vote, six points for a second-place vote and so on. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.

The Huskies are ranked No. 15 in the Softball Top 25 preseason poll and No. 21 in the preseason top 25 released by USA Today/NFCA. Washington finished the 2008 season with a 30-25-1 record and advanced to the NCAA postseason for the 15th consecutive season, receiving votes in the final national polls. The return of All-Americans Danielle Lawrie and Ashley Charters and All-Pac-10 outfielder Lauren Greer, who all redshirted in 2008, along with the return of eight starters from last year's squad, earned the Huskies respect from the Pac-10 coaches.

The Pac-10 has historically been the most powerful conference in college softball, with the league winning 21 of the 27 national championships contested in the sport. The conference has also had at least three teams advance to the College World Series in 10 consecutive seasons. Six of the eight Pac-10 teams which have softball are ranked in the preseason top 15.

The Huskies have one of the toughest schedules in the nation, facing 13 teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top-25 Preseason poll, including six of the top eight teams. They will face 18 teams which competed in the 2008 NCAA tournament, including five of the eight Women's College World Series participants. The Huskies last advanced to the World Series in 2007 and still have 10 players remaining from that squad which advanced to the national semifinals before falling to eventual national champion Arizona.

Washington kicks off its 2009 campaign Feb. 6-8 at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah. The Huskies' first home action will come when they host the Husky Softball Classic, Feb. 27-March 1.

Pac-10 Preseason Coaches Poll
(First place votes in parentheses)

1. UCLA (3), 43
2. Arizona State (2), 41
3. Washington (2), 36
4. Arizona, 34
5. Stanford, 31
6. California, 19
7 (tie). Oregon and Oregon State, 10