TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Entering the 2018 season as the five-time defending ACC regular season champion, along with four straight ACC Tournament titles and a 26-game winning streak in conference play, the No. 9 Florida State softball team was voted to finish first in the Atlantic Coast Conference by the league’s head coaches on Tuesday.
It is the fifth consecutive season that the Noles have been tabbed to win the conference title in the preseason and FSU has controlled the ACC over that span. Florida State has not lost a conference series since 2012, posting a record of 37-0-4 over the last 41 series against ACC teams, including 31 sweeps, six 2-1 series records and four 1-1 series ties. Overall, the Noles are 107-10 (.915) in their last 117 ACC regular season games.
“Winning an ACC Championship is one of our goals every season, but it can only be reached by accomplishing each of the smaller goals along the way,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “Winning a weekend series, winning a game, winning an inning, winning an at-bat, winning an individual pitch – you need to take each one at a time and build on the next in order to achieve the goals we have for ourselves. The ACC continues to improve every season and we are very excited for what Duke will bring this year as well as the addition of Clemson in 2020. It is another year and another challenge and I look forward to facing it with this team.”
The Seminoles received 121 points and all 11 eligible first-place votes, as teams could not vote for themselves. North Carolina earned the other first-place vote and finished second in the preseason poll with 105 points, while Notre Dame (97 points), Louisville (90 points) and Boston College (85 points) rounded out the top five.
Syracuse came in sixth with 62 points, along with Virginia Tech at seventh with 57 points. Eighth through 10th place was separated by only two points, as Virginia (43 points) was closely followed by Pitt (42 points) and NC State (41 points). Georgia Tech ranked 11th in the preseason poll with 29 points, while Duke begins its first season of collegiate softball in 2018 and finished last in the preseason poll with 20 points.
In 2017, Florida State was a perfect 24-0 in ACC play and became the first Power 5 school to go undefeated in conference play since Nebraska went 16-0 as a member of the Big 12 in 1998.
FSU’s 2018 ACC season will feature eight series, beginning with Virginia Tech at home on March 16-18. The other home ACC series will be against Syracuse (March 23-25), Pitt (April 6-8) and Louisville (April 21-23). The four road conference series for Florida State this year will be at Georgia Tech (March 30-April 1), at Boston College (April 13-15), at Notre Dame (April 27-29) and at NC State (May 4-6).
The 2018 ACC Softball Championship will be hosted by Georgia Tech on May 9-12, with the top two seeds in the regular season receiving byes to play in the quarterfinals on May 10. All games of the tournament will be broadcast by ACC Network Extra, with Saturday’s championship game airing live on ESPN.
The Seminoles will open the 2018 season at Texas State on February 9-11, as they host the Bobcat Classic. FSU will play a total of five games against Portland State, Sam Houston State and Texas State throughout the weekend.
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2018 ACC Softball Preseason Poll
1. Florida State (11) – 121 points
2. North Carolina (1) – 105 points
3. Notre Dame – 97 points
4. Louisville – 90 points
5. Boston College – 85 points
6. Syracuse – 62 points
7. Virginia Tech – 57 points
8. Virginia – 43 points
9. Pitt – 42 points
10. NC State – 41 points
11. Georgia Tech – 29 points
12. Duke – 20 points