Jan. 29, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
Fresh off an appearance in the semi-finals of the 2002 Women’s College World Series and final ranking of No. 4, the 2003 Seminole softball will start the season this Saturday ranked No. 9 in the nation. The first NFCA/USA Today Top 25 preseason poll, which was released Wednesday, gave FSU its highest preseason ranking since the 1993 season when that team entered the year ranked sixth and it is FSU’s third-highest preseason ranking ever.
“It is really a great starting point for this team to begin the year ranked in the Top 10,” said head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. “I think a lot of that obviously has to do with our performance at the World Series last season but our kids need to remember this is a new year and our goals are to do even better than we did in 2002.”
Florida State is joined by fellow ACC member Georgia Tech in the preseason poll as the Jackets open the year ranked 19th in the nation. Five other teams on the FSU schedule appear in the preseason poll with No. 2 Arizona being the highest ranked of the group. Florida State’s first test against a ranked foe comes in just the second weekend of the season when the Tribe battles No. 17 Georgia in Tallahassee.
Just two weeks into the 2003 campaign, FSU will face three more ranked teams in a two day span at the prestigious NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Tribe is scheduled to face No. 21 Pacific, No. 23 Oregon State and No. 25 UMass. On top of teams they are scheduled to face in bracket play, FSU will compete in tournaments with as many as 20 other teams that are ranked in the preseason poll.
“I think we have an even tougher schedule this year with the addition of the NFCA Leadoff Classic, which is one of the top tournaments in the country, on top of returning to the KIA Klassic,” said Graf. “That’s what I like. I like to play tough teams. Maybe our win/loss record won’t be as good as if we padded our schedule but I think it pays off at crunch time because our kids have seen that caliber of team before.”
The Sunshine Network released the television schedule for the 2003 Seminole softball season Wednesday. The ninth-ranked Seminoles will make five appearances on Florida’s largest regional network this season. Sunshine will carry FSU’s ACC doubleheaders with Maryland and Virginia and the opening game of the showdown with the Florida Gators in Gainesville.
“I think it is great that our fans throughout Florida will have a chance to see us battle two of our ACC rivals and the Gators,” said Graf. “The ACC is getting better and better every season and both of those doubleheaders should be great series. Then fans will also get a taste of one of college sports best rivalries when we travel to Gainesville to face the Gators. That series has been so even over the years and it is hard to imagine it will be any different this season.”
The first game of the Maryland doubleheader, scheduled for March 25, will be shown live throughout the state of Florida while game two will be shown everywhere except for the south Florida area due to a Miami Heat basketball game. The Virginia twin bill will be tape-delayed and shown at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, April 27 following the finale of the FSU/Miami baseball series in Tallahassee.
For complete information on the 2003 Florida State softball team please log on to seminoles.com. Florida State’s official athletic website should be your first stop for stats, photos, weekly releases, game posters, live stats and so much more. Join FSU softball as the look to make another run to the College World Series.