Softball Opens 2004 Season Ranked Fifth By USA Softball/ESPN.com

Jan. 14, 2004

SEATTLE- The Washington softball team makes its season debut in the No. 5 spot on the USA Softball/ESPN.com Top 25 poll. Thirteen Husky opponents are ranked in the top 25, including all seven Pac-10 teams.

Washington returns seven position players and both of its pitchers from the 2003 squad that advanced to the Women's College World Series for the sixth time in school history. The Huskies return a pair of All-Americans, including senior pitcher Tia Bollinger and junior catcher Kristen Rivera.

Last season Bollinger led the team with 28 wins, 207 strikeouts and a 1.32 earned run average. Rivera led the nation with 25 home runs, while also leading the Huskies with a .395 average, 71 runs batted in and 73 hits.

Washington will endure an intense tournament schedule to open the season, facing No. 1 UCLA in just its third game of the season, as well as No. 11 Texas, No. 16 CSU Fullerton, No. 17 Texas A&M, No. 18 Iowa, No. 20 Florida State and No. 21 Fresno State.

The Huskies will then battle for the Pac-10 title against defending national champion UCLA, No. 2 California, No. 3 Arizona, No. 12 Stanford, No. 13 Oregon, No. 19 Arizona State and No. 23 Oregon State. UW will also host the Canadian National team on March 4.

Washington will make its season debut on the road against San Diego State at the Long Beach State Tournament on February 6.

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