January 25, 2005 - by
Florida State Softball Ranks No. 11 In The 2005 ESPN.com/USA Softball Pre-Season Top 25 Collegiate Poll

Jan. 25, 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Coming off a 62-12 season, a No. 5 final ranking, and its seventh trip to the Women’s College World Series, Florida State ranked No. 11 in the preseason edition of the 2005 ESPN.com /USA Softball Top 25 Collegiate Poll released Wednesday. The team is set to open play on February 9 at Florida A&M University for a doubleheader beginning at 5:00 p.m. Cal picked up 10 first place votes to capture the top spot over Pac 10 foe Arizona by just six points.

For the fifth straight year, the Seminoles softball team begins a season ranked in the Top 25 in the USA Softball/ESPN poll. FSU and Georgia Tech (No. 21) are the only ACC teams ranked and five of the Seminoles opponents are in the poll, including three of the nations’ top six teams.

“Obviously we would like to finish higher than that, but we really don’t pay much attention to polls,” said head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf.. “It’s not really based on this year’s team or this year’s accomplishments, but I think it’s a starting point for us. It’s a credit to last year’s team and how they did.”

The Tribe will start the season with two returning NFCA All-Americans in Casey Hunter and Veronica Wootson, along with seven of nine starters from a team that had arguably the best season in the school’s illustrious history. However, the squad has a heavy void to fill after losing the USA National Player of the Year, Jessica van der Linden, and four -year starters Elisa Vasquez (catcher) and Beth Wade (first base) to graduation. With the departure of van der Linden, who was Florida State’s most decorated female athlete of all time, senior pitcher Casey Hunter will be the top ace in the circle.

Florida State’s schedule is loaded with many WCWS hopefuls like No. 2 Arizona, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 6 Texas, No. 19 Long Beach State, and No. 21 Georgia Tech. In fact, at the Kia Classic March 18-20, the Seminoles battle Arizona, Texas, and Long Beach in three straight games, as each school is seeded in the same pool. Four other Seminole opponents (Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, North Carolina) received votes.

“We’ll play a lot of good teams,” said Graf, “and if we beat them we will keep moving up. It’s exciting to be in good company with so many accomplished teams and we are looking forward to the season getting underway.”

The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll is voted on by NCAA Division I coaches representing 15 different ASA regions and 11 different collegiate conferences. The poll is also voted on by selected softball media members. First-place votes are in parentheses.

Log on to www.seminoles.com for weekly Top 25 Polls and polls which will begin February 10.

Rank Team 2004 Record Points
1. California (10) 53-13 487
2. Arizona (8) 55-6 481
3. UCLA (2) 47-9 457
4. Oklahoma 45-22-1 411
5. Stanford 49-19 357
6. Texas 24-25 341
7. Louisiana Lafayette 60-8 328
8. LSU 57-12 324
9. Washington 40-19 319
10. Georgia 55-17 317
11. Florida State 62-12 310
12. Michigan 54-13 308
13. Tennessee 55-15 280
14. Oregon 42-21 260
15. Alabama 45-20 248
16. Oregon State 44-28 172
17. Fresno State 48-20 170
18. Baylor 48-17 154
19. Long Beach State 51-13 126
20. Nebraska 45-17 105
21. Georgia Tech 47-19 96
22. South Florida 60-14 84
T23. Texas A&M 33-22 43
T23. Southern Illinois 45-17 43
25. Illinois 45-20-1 38

Parenthesis Denotes first place votes.

Others receiving votes: Pacific (34), Massachusetts (28), Auburn (26), Iowa (23), Hofstra (23), Florida (22), Arizona State (14), Notre Dame (13), Northwestern (10), Mississippi State (9), Florida Atlantic (8), Louisville, (7), South Carolina (6), Missouri (6), Oklahoma State (3), North Carolina (3), Seton Hall (3), Creighton (3), DePaul (1), Tulsa (1).

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