Jan. 23, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
With just 11 days remaining before the Florida State softball teams opens its 2002 regular season, the Seminoles received welcomed news Wednesday when the first USA Today/NFCA poll was released. Florida State will open the 2002 campaign as the 15th-ranked team in the country and its pre-season ranking marks the 17th-straight week that FSU has been ranked in the college softball poll.
“I think that is a great jumping off point for this year’s team,” said Dr. JoAnne Graf. “We finished just outside of the top eight College World Series teams in 2001 and I think No. 15 is about right for this year’s squad considering how young we are.”
Florida State wasn’t alone in the pre-season rankings as 11 possible opponents joined FSU in the poll. Unlike 2001 when the Seminoles faced just one ranked team during the regular season due to inclement weather that forced the cancellation of games versus some of the nation’s top programs, Florida State will see plenty of ranked teams in 2002. The Seminoles are scheduled to face four top 25 teams in No. 7 Oklahoma, No. 9 Washington, No. 10 Cal State Fullerton and No. 22 South Carolina and could see as many as seven other ranked teams depending on how they fare in two of the seasons biggest tournaments.
The Seminoles could face defending National Champion and pre-season No. 1 Arizona, No. 8 Arizona State, No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 16 Fresno State and No. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette when they travel to Cal State-Fullerton to take part in the prestigious Kia Classic. Florida State will also host No. 11 Michigan and No. 12 Nebraska among others in the team’s annual Tallahassee Democrat/Seminole Invitational Tournament.
It won’t take long for FSU to see its first ranked opponents as the Seminoles host No. 9 Washington, No. 22 South Carolina, NCAA Regional participant FAU and Louisville on the second weekend of the season in the Seminole Challenge Tournament February 8-10. Including Florida State, four of the five teams in the tournament participated in the 2001 NCAA Tournament and three of the five squads are ranked with a fourth, FAU, receiving votes in the pre-season poll.
“We are going to be tested immediately this season with such a strong field coming to Tallahassee for the Seminole Challenge,” said Graf. “All season long we are going to face some of the country’s best teams and that first tournament of the year will be a great test for us. Washington is a Top 10 team, South Carolina is an NCAA Tournament team coached by one of our businesses legendary coaches, we are very familiar with FAU since they are in our region and Louisville had a 40-win season in 2001.”
Graf, who is just 12 wins away from setting the all-time wins mark for collegiate softball, will face one of the few active coaches who joins her on almost every list for winningest softball coaches when Joyce Compton brings her Gamecocks to Tallahassee for the Seminole Challenge. Between Graf and Compton, the two have combined for 1917 wins in 42 seasons. They rank second (Graf) and eighth (Compton) on the NCAA’s winningest active coaches list by victories and they appear on 12 NCAA and NFCA all-time top coaching lists.
|Rk.||School||’01 Record||Pts.||’01 Rank|
Others Receiving Votes: Hawaii 37, Texas 36, Ohio State 31, Wisconsin
30, Florida Atlantic 18, North Carolina 14, Cal State Northridge 12,
Virginia 8, Hofstra 2. Six other teams (totaling 49 points) were listed on
only one ballot and are not included among others receiving votes.
First Regular Season Poll: Wednesday, February 20.