Jan. 30, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
A strong run through the NCAA Tournament all the way to the Super Regional warranted the Florida State softball team a spot in the Top 25 of both preseason polls. The Seminoles are the only school in the ACC to appear in both rankings as they hold down the No. 25 spot in both the NFCA/USA Today and the USA Softball/ESPN.com polls.
Florida State has appeared in the preseason Top 25 in eight of the last 10 seasons with its best preseason ranking coming in 2003 when it started the year rated ninth. NC State is the only other conference school to make it into the Top 25 as they came in 22nd in the USA Softball ratings, but are a spot back of the Seminole in the NFCA poll.
“I think it’s a little lower than I would have liked us to be ranked, based on us being in the Super Regional last year and finishing, essentially, tied for ninth in the country,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “I can understand it a little bit because during parts of last season we struggled a little bit, but it gives us a good starting point and will really motivate us to move up in the polls.”
The Seminoles will play five teams (No. 11/13 Michigan, No. 12/11 Washington, No. 15/15 Nebraska, No. 22 NC State and No. 24 Auburn) that appear in either of the polls with five more receiving votes (Kansas, Florida, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina). The Seminoles have a chance to play No. 14/12 Georgia and Southern Illinois, who is receive votes, during the FSU Invitational.
In addition Florida State has the potential to play No. 18 Baylor as well as vote getters DePaul, Hostra and Illinois State at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, Feb. 23-25. The field at the Judi Garman Classic, March 15-18, includes No. 1/1 Arizona, No. 5/5 Arizona State, No. 16/16 Oklahoma, No. 17/18 Texas, No. 19/17 Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 21/20 Fresno State as well as Notre Dame and Cal Sate Fullerton, who are receiving votes.
The Seminoles return six position starters – including two-time NFCA All-American Veronica Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) and all three starting pitchers for the 2007 season, which opens February 9-10 with the Seminole Classic.