SPY February 2 UPDATE
Huskies, Sun Devils Projected in Pac 12
SEATTLE – After finishing third at the 2013 Women’s College World Series and earning the No. 3 ranking from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association last week, the Washington Huskies softball team has caught the attention of the coaches in the Pac-12.
The Huskies are in a tie with Arizona State for first place in the Pac-12 coaches preseason poll, receiving four first-place votes, as announced by the conference Thursday. The Huskies received 60 points total.
“Meeting the preseason expectations of the Pac-12 coaches poll is a great challenge for our team,” head coach Heather Tarr said. “This gives us a great opportunity to prove what we can do this year.”
This marks just the fourth time in the history of the Pac-12 coaches poll that two teams have tied for first place.
The Huskies return 14 letterwinners from last season’s team, which finished 3rd in the Pac-12 with a record of 16-8 in conference. The Huskies finished 45-17 overall and ended the year ranked fourth in both the NFCA poll and the ESPN/USA Softball poll.
The Huskies open the 2014 season at the UNLV/SportCo Kick-Off Classic on Friday, February 7 vs. No. 18 Baylor at 9:00 a.m.
TEMPE – The No. 7 Arizona State University softball program has been voted in a tie with Washington as the top team in the Pac-12 Conference following the preseason polling of the Pac-12 softball coaches, as announced by the conference office on Thursday.
The Sun Devils and the Huskies both received 60 points, with Arizona State earning five first-place votes and Washington earning four. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 of both the USA Today/NFCA and the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason polls, with Washington coming in at third and fifth respectively and Arizona State placing seventh in both. ASU and UW were the only two Pac-12 teams to advance to the Women’s College World Series last season, with the Huskies finishing third overall in the postseason.
It is only the fourth time in the history of the coaches poll that two teams have tied for first, as Arizona and UCLA were picked to split the title three times previously (2011, 2002 and 2001).
The Sun Devils enter the 2014 campaign with four returning All-Americans on the roster in Dallas Escobedo, Amber Freeman, Cheyenne Coyle and Alix Johnson – the most returning All-Americans of any team in the nation.
Escobedo, Freeman and Coyle also enter the season on the USA Softball Preseason Watch List for the National Player of the Year award, tied for the highest tally of any team in the country.
The team also returns the likes of All-Pac-12 selections in Mackenzie Popescue, Haley Steele, Bethany Kemp, Bailey Wigness, Elizabeth Caporuscio and Nikki Girard to a program that has advanced the to the Women’s College World Series in seven of the last eight seasons – two more appearances than any other team in the nation.
The Sun Devils will open the season on Thursday, Feb. 6 against Creighton in the opener of the 2014 Kajikawa Classic at Farrington Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. Tickets for the upcoming season are now on sale and available through the following link.
2014 Pac-12 Softball Coaches Poll
1. Washington 60
Arizona State 60
3. Oregon 48
4. UCLA 42
5. Stanford 38
6. Arizona 28
7. California 18
8. Oregon State 15
Louisville Favored in AAC
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The No. 18/19 University of Louisville softball team was chosen as the preseason favorite in 2014 American Athletic Conference Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as selected by the league’s eight head coaches.
Louisville received six of seven possible first place votes for 48 total points to take the honor. The Cardinals are coming off an impressive 2013 season which saw the program post a 47-13 overall record and an 18-4 conference mark in the former Big East. UofL also earned its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth and the overall No. 15 seed for the second straight season. The 2014 Cardinal squad will return eight letterwinners and six starters, including senior and 2013 NFCA Second Team All-American second baseman Katie Keller. Five other seniors and Big East award winners: Caralisa Connell, Taner Fowler, Hannah Kiyohara, Rachel LeCoq and Maggie Ruckenbrod, will join Keller in pursuit of an 11th straight NCAA bid, all of which have come under 15th-year head coach Sandy Pearsall.
No. 23/25 USF took the second-place slot, picking up two first place vote and 44 overall points. The 2013 Big East Champions advanced to their second-straight and eleventh overall NCAA Tournament appearance last year. Houston, the 2013 Conference USA tournament runner-up stands at third in the league coaches’ poll. The Cougars have been to three straight NCAA tournaments. UCF, Rutgers, Connecticut, Memphis and Temple round out the preseason standings.
The conference’s teams all begin play within the next three weeks, with the eight teams looking toward the inaugural American Athletic Conference Softball Championship. Held at the Cougar Softball Field on the campus of the University of Houston May 8-10, the Championship will take the form of a single-elimination bracket. The quarterfinal and semifinal matchups will all be broadcast live on The American Digital Network, with the final featured live on ESPNEWS.
2014 American Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll
School (First Place Votes) Points
1. Louisville (6) 48
2. USF (2) 44
3. Houston 37
4. UCF 29
5. Rutgers 23
6. UConn 15
8. Temple 13
NFCA D III PRESEASON [OLL
NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll – 2014 Preseason
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25 Poll is voted on by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions. Final 2013 records are shown. First place votes are in parentheses.
|8||East Texas Baptist||37-12||146|
|11||St. Thomas (Minn.)||41-7||119|
|25||North Central (Ill.)||35-12||23|
Others receiving votes:
Anderson (17), Capital (17), Ithaca (8), Kean (8), Utica (8), Lynchburg (3), Wisconsin-Eau Claire (3), Wisconsin-Whitewater (1).
NFCA D II PRESEASON POLL
NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll – Preseason 2014
The NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll is voted on by 16 NCAA Division II head coaches, two representing each of the eight NCAA regions. Final 2013 records are shown, first-place votes are in parentheses.
|1||Central Oklahoma (16)||51-11||400|
|3||Grand Valley State||46-9||346|
|8||West Texas A&M||44-13||272|
|10||Southeastern Oklahoma State||45-9||250|
|14||Texas Woman’s University||51-14||185|
|20||Anderson (South Carolina)||40-15||102|
|21||UC San Diego||33-25||96|
|22||Augustana (South Dakota)||32-17||78|
Others receiving votes:
Bloomsburg (36), St. Mary’s TX (27), Molloy (23), Minnesota State Mankato (20), New Haven (16), St. Edward’s (14), Adelphi (13), St. Leo (8), Winona State (6), Cal State Dominguez Hills (4), Colorado Mesa (4), Hawaii-Hilo (4), West Chester (2), West Virginia State (2)
No. 6 Molloy (53-14), No. 10 Winona State (37-14), No. 13 Cal State Dominguez Hills (37-24), No. 14 Adelphi (41-19), No. 15 St. Edward’s (33-23), No. 16 Fort Hays State (47-12), No. 17 West Chester (37-21), No. 25 Minnesota State Mankato (40-12)