Tallahassee, FL - The Florida State University softball team received a No. 23 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Poll, announced today by the Amateur Softball Association of America.
FSU, which also received 22 votes in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll, brings back a wealth of offensive talent as eight of the team’s top nine hitters return from a season ago. Last year, the Seminoles entered their 2010 campaign with a preseason spot of No. 19 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings and No. 23 in the USA Today/NFCA poll.
“Preseason rankings are always fun to see where your colleagues rank you among the nation’s best,” head coach Lonni Alameda said. “However, it is not where you start but where you finish. These rankings signal that the season is around the corner and with our journey about to begin our team is more than excited to get the year underway.”
The Seminoles finished once again in the upper echelon of Division I softball with a No. 22 ratings percentage index last season, going 44-18 and earning their second consecutive trip to the ACC title game. This season, another challenging schedule awaits them as 11 of their opponents are either ranked in the Top 25 of the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll or have received votes.
Among the notable opponents on FSU’s schedule is third-ranked Alabama, which hosts the Seminoles in the Easton SEC/ACC Challenge on March 12 and March 13 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. FSU also battles fifth-ranked Florida on the road on May 4, travels to 17th-ranked Georgia Tech on May 7-8 and faces No. 20 BYU on Feb. 24 in the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.
FSU’s other opponents who are receiving votes include San Diego State (30), conference foe North Carolina (13), Northwestern (11), Oregon State (11), Hofstra (9), Kentucky (8) and ACC opponent Maryland (1).
FSU is on a current streak of 11 straight NCAA Championship appearances, needing one appearance this season to make school history. The Seminoles have two 11-year streaks from 1986-96 and 2000-10 that are currently the school's longest postseason stretches. Since the 1986 season, FSU has failed to make an NCAA Regional just twice.
The Seminoles begin their season on Feb. 11 with a doubleheader against UNC Greensboro (noon) and St. John’s (2:15 p.m.) at JoAnne Graf Field as part of the Seminole Kickoff Classic. FSU then faces Hofstra the following day at 12:30 p.m. before participating in championship round play.