JANUARY 23 2012 UPDATE
BIG EAST POLL
January 23, 2012
Softball Tabbed Third In BIG EAST Preseason Poll
DePaul voted preseason favorite by league coaches.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – One of five teams to receive first-place votes in the 2012
BIG EAST Conference preseason coaches’ poll, Notre Dame was picked to finish
third in the league standings as announced Monday by the conference.
DePaul was tabbed the preseason favorite by the league’s coaches as the 2012
poll marks the first time since the current conference formation was set in 2006
that five teams have split the first-place votes.
Notre Dame received three first-place votes on the heels of finishing the 2011
season as the BIG EAST regular-season champion with a 46-11 overall record and a
19-1 mark in conference play. Last season, the Irish led the league in batting
average (.330), slugging percentage (.511), on-base percentage (.397), runs
scored (333), RBI (291) and total bases (742). Head coach Deanna Gumpf and the
2011 BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year will have to fill the shoes of five
graduated all-BIG EAST selections, including BIG EAST Player of the Year Heather
Johnson. The Irish will look to pitcher Laura Winter, outfielder Alexa
Maldonado, pitcher and Brittany O’Donnell, who were BIG EAST selections last
DePaul earned three first-place votes and finished second in the 2011
regular-season standings. DePaul returns four all-BIG EAST selections, including
the 2011 Rookie of the Year Kristen Verdun.
Two-time defending tournament champion Syracuse earned four first-place votes to
slide into the poll’s second spot.
This season’s BIG EAST Championship will be held at Notre Dame’s Melissa Cook
Stadium. The league’s top eight teams will advance to the three-day tournament
(May 10-12) with the championship game to be televised May 12 on ESPN2.
2012 BIG EAST Softball Preseason Poll
1. DePaul (3)
2. Syracuse (4)
3. Notre Dame (3)
4. Louisville (2)
5. USF (1)
10. St. John’s
13. Seton Hall
FRESNO STATE RANKED 22ND IN MAGAZINE POLL
FRESNO, Calif. – CollegeSportsMadness.com recently ranked Fresno State No. 22 in its 2012 preseason poll and four Bulldogs were named to its WAC Preseason All-Conference Team.
In addition, College Sports Madness picked Fresno State as 2012 favorite to win the WAC.
Pitcher/infielder Michelle Moses, infielder Brooke Ortiz and outfielder Andrea Ortega were all named first-team on its preseason all-conference list while right-handed pitcher Mackenzie Oakes garnered a second-team nod.
Other preseason polls expected to be released on Tuesday include the NFCA preseason top 25 poll and the USA Softball preseason poll.
The Bulldogs open the 2012 season with 10-straight home games, beginning on Feb. 9 with the Fresno State Kick-Off tournament.
The release sent to SPY did not contain a full 25 list, but offered these comments:
|Look for a bounce back season. A rare tournament absence in 2011, the Wildcats are ready to compete in the Big 10.|
|Reached program’s 2nd Super Regional. If Cougars can replace Crabtree in circle, UH can compete for CUSA crown.|
|LSU has a new coaching staff and outstanding pitching. Need offensive improvement to overtake SEC powers.|
|The only program to qualify for all 30 NCAA Tournaments. High hopes as the Bulldogs expect to win the WAC.|
|Third in Mountain West in 2011, the Aztecs should benefit from BYU’s move to the WAC. MWC title hopefuls.|
|One game from a Super Regional, last year’s C-USA regular season champs should battle UH for conference title.|
|UNC looks to return to the tourney after a rare absence in 2011. Should battle Ga. Tech and FSU for ACC title.|
BANDITS RELEASE THREE
|ROSEMONT, Ill. – Chicago Bandits GM Aaron M. Moore announced today that the Bandits have released the following players: infielders Christine Knauer, Robin Thompson and Stacy May-Johnson. Each player played a key role in the team’s championship season.Knauer was selected by the Bandits in the fourth round of the 2010 Senior Draft out of North Carolina. She spent most of her career at shortstop for the Bandits, batting .161 during the 2011 season with an on-base percentage of .188 and four runs scored.
“Doc is the consummate professional and teammate,” said Moore. “She was always ready to play when her number was called and was a player we could always count on in the community. She really is a great example of what the Bandits are all about.
“We wish her the best of luck as she works towards entrance in medical school this summer.”
Thompson spent her collegiate career at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. before signing with the Bandits via open tryouts in May of 2011. Spending the majority of the season as a pinch runner for the Bandits, Thompson hit .222 on the season with an on-base percentage of .364 including two stolen bases and five runs scored.
“Robin was definitely critical to the team’s success in 2011 after earning a spot on the team at tryouts,” stated Moore. “Speed is such a valuable asset in our game and RT provided that and was a key contributor off the bench. She is going to pursue a career opportunity with the Target Corporation and we wish her the best of luck there.”
| Photo by Dina Kwit
Coming out of retirement in August of 2011 to rejoin the Bandits, May-Johnson blasted a homerun in her first game back in a Bandits uniform. She finished up the season with a .125 batting average, and an on base-percentage of .364.
“We were thrilled when Stacy decided to come out of retirement to help us down the stretch last season,” exclaimed Moore. “Stacy’s work ethic is contagious and her veteran leadership was key down the stretch for us.
“The University of Iowa is very lucky to have Stacy in their dugout as a coach. She’s one of the smartest people in the game and the sky really is the limit for her.”
For more information about the Chicago Bandits, visit www.chicagobandits.com or call 877-722-6348.
Emily Griggs 2014 – University of Florida
Micaela Whitney 2012 – Iowa