February 2, 2005 - by
FSU Softball Preseason No. 1 In ACC Coaches’ Poll

Feb. 2, 2005

Tallahassee, FL – The two-time defending ACC champion and 10th-ranked Florida State softball team has been chosen to win the 2005 ACC softball title according to a preseason poll of the league’s seven head coaches, released Wednesday. The Seminoles captured back-to-back ACC crowns in 2003 and 2004 after posting an 8-0 and 9-1 league mark. Last season, the Seminoles recorded a 62-12 ledger which included an ACC Championship, NCAA Region IV title, and a trip to the College World Series for the second time in three years.

“I think it is nice that the coaches in the ACC voted Florida State first and it is always an honor,” said head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. “I do think that the ACC is very balanced and the title is pretty much up for grabs this year. I believe this season will be very competitive for our league.

“With the addition of Virginia Tech to the conference, that just strengthens the quality of our league. The greater number of strong teams you have helps your national reputation, so they will bring a lot to the ACC.”

Florida State is 82-17 all-time in ACC play winning an impressive 83 percent of its conference games and the Tribe has finished atop the ACC regular season standings 11 times in 13 years. During the last four seasons, the Tribe has won 29-of-30 ACC regular season games with the lone loss coming against Virginia in 2004.

The Seminoles, who have won nine outright and one shared league titles since 1992, tallied 49 points including all seven first-place votes. They have won 10 of the 14 ACC Championship titles. Florida State returns 12 letterwinners, six starters and two returning pitchers, including senior hurler Casey Hunter who tallied a 33-4 mark and an ERA of 0.63 from inside the circle last year. Hunter and teammate Veronica Wootson were named to the preseason USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List in 2005.

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were selected in second place with 40 points after advancing to the NCAA Regionals for the third consecutive season in 2004. The Yellow Jackets return eight letterwinners including five starters and two starting pitchers from last season’s squad that finished with a 47-19 record. Senior pitcher Jessica Sallinger, a preseason USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year candidate, returns to the circle with 1025 career strikeouts, needing just 13 to become the ACC all-time leader in that category.

North Carolina is the coaches’ pick to finish third after accumulating 35 points. The Tar Heels earned a berth to the NCAA Regionals last season and finished 2004 with an overall mark of 44-22. North Carolina returns five starters, three starting pitchers and 12 letterwinners from last year’s team.

Completing the preseason poll in order of projected finish are Virginia (23), NC State (18), Maryland (16) and Virginia Tech (15). Below is a listing of the preseason coaches’ poll with 2004 records:
The Seminoles open the 2005 campaign across town with a doubleheader at Florida A&M February 9th at 5 pm. That weekend, Feb. 11-12, FSU hosts the Seminole Classic Tournament and welcomes Missouri and Nicholls State. For more information on the 2005 Seminole softball team or any of Florida State’s athletic teams, please log on to the official athletic website for Florida State University at www.seminoles.com

2005 Preseason ACC Softball Poll

Rank Team 2004 Record Points
1. Florida State (7) 62-12 (9-1) 49
2. Georgia Tech 47-19 (5-5) 40
3. North Carolina 44-22 (6-4) 35
5. NC State 32-27 (3-7) 18
6. Maryland 33-27 (1-9) 16
7. Virginia Tech 36-23 (9-11*) 15

Parenthesis Denotes first place votes.

* denotes Big East Conference record in 2004.

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