Feb. 3, 2012
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The defending ACC champion Florida State University softball team has been picked to finish third in the conference this season, according to today’s release of the ACC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
“I’ve seen a lot of good things out of our team this offseason, but I know that winning that 12th ACC title is going to be tough as usual,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Since I’ve been here we’ve been picked to finish differently every year, but our team is extremely focused right now on what can be done on the field. Hopefully we can defy these preseason predictions.”
The Seminoles finished with 39 points for the third-place spot, just seven shy of Georgia Tech’s first-place prediction that generated 46 points. FSU received one first-place vote, and also sits behind second-place North Carolina (43 points).
Rounding the eight-team conference is Virginia with 26 points, fifth-place Maryland with 25 points, Virginia Tech with 21 points, while seventh-place North Carolina State and eighth-place Boston College finish the poll.
Last season, FSU was predicted to finish second yet won its 11th ACC title after defeating North Carolina, 4-1, in Atlanta. The 2010 poll forecasted FSU and Georgia Tech as the co-conference champions, while the Seminoles were predicted to finish fifth in 2009 before going 44-16 overall and 17-4 within the conference.
The Seminoles are gunning for their 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship this season, having made every postseason since the millennium. The 2012 season could feature a return to strong pitching as redshirt junior Monica Perry enters her first playing season in the Garnet and Gold. The Whitesburg, Ga., native posted strong numbers as the No. 1 pitcher at Illinois, and is ready to lead FSU in the circle after a year away from competition.
FSU will also look for contributions from three talented pitchers in redshirt sophomore Jessica Nori (Weston, Fla.), freshman Lacey Waldrop (Colonial Heights, Va.) and freshman Bailey Schinella (Valrico, Fla.). Nori ended the 2011 season on a strong note and is set to carry that momentum into the upcoming season, while Waldrop and Schinella have shown plenty of promise throughout the offseason.
Thirteen letterwinners return from last year’s squad, including right fielder Shayla Jackson and infielder Tiffani Brown. Both student-athletes provide FSU with one of the country’s most formidable tandems at the top of the lineup.
The first Seminole Classic of the 2012 season begins next Friday as FSU opens the year with a home matchup against Stephen F. Austin at 12:15 p.m. The Seminoles also play Ole Miss at 2:30 p.m.