Huskies Ranked No. 21 In USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll

Jan. 20, 2009

USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll

SEATTLE - The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 preseason softball poll was released on Tuesday and the Washington Huskies will enter the 2009 season as the 21st-ranked team in the country. The Huskies received 193 points after finishing just outside the top 25 in the final poll of the 2008 season.

Washington went 30-25-1 and advanced to the NCAA postseason for the 15th consecutive season in 2008 despite losing two All-Americans and an All-Pac-10 performer due to redshirt seasons. UW was ranked 11th in the 2008 preseason poll after advancing to school's eighth Women's College World Series in 2007, but All-American pitcher Danielle Lawrie redshirted in order to play in the 2008 Olympic Games with Canada, while All-American infielder Ashley Charters used a medical redshirt due to hip surgery. Then, just 13 games into the season, All-Pac-10 outfielder Lauren Greer was shut down for the season to have shoulder surgery and earned a medical hardship.

All three return to the field in 2009 along with a handful of players who gained valuable experience in their absence. A total of 13 players return from last season's squad, including eight starters, to form a veteran-laden team featuring seven seniors.

Also among the players returning are All-Pac-10 catcher Alicia Blake and All-Pac-10 infielder Morgan Stuart, who tied for the team lead with seven home runs each last season. Amanda Fleischman, Marnie Koziol and Bailey Stenson, who have also earned All-Pac-10 honors in their careers, return to the diamond in 2009.

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

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