Softball Opens The 2002 Season No. 8 In The Country

Jan. 23, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State softball team will start the 2002 season ranked No. 8 in the country according to the USA Today/NFCA Top-25 preseason poll, released today. The poll is voted on by 27 Division I softball coaches, representing all areas of the country.

For only one week in the past two and half years, Arizona State has not dropped out of the top-10.

Playing in the toughest conference in the nation, the Pacific-10, seven of the conference's eight schools - USC and Washington State do not field teams - are ranked in the top-20, including six of the top nine.

The Sun Devils, coming off a 36-22 season and a No. 9 national ranking last year, return eight of nine starters, including two-time All-American pitcher Kirsten Voak and All-American designated player Erica Beach.

Head Coach Linda Wells, entering her 13th-season at ASU and 28th overall, will also have the services of All-Pac-10 performers Kara Brun, Missy Hixon, Nichole Thompson, Phelan Wright and Kristin Farber. In addition to the strong returning cast, Arizona State will also have the services of last year's Junior College Catcher of the Year and first-team All-American Adriana Garcia.

The Sun Devils will kick off the 2002 season hosting its annual Fiesta Bowl Tournament February 8-10 at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex and at ASU's Farrington Stadium.

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