Jan. 4, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The BIG EAST Conference announced Friday that the University of Notre Dame softball team was selected fourth in its preseason poll by a vote of the league's 12 coaches
DePaul - the 2007 BIG EAST regular season champions - took the top spot in the preseason rankings after falling to eventual national champion Arizona in the 2007 Women's College World Series. The Blue Demons corralled nine first-place votes with South Florida taking up remaining three nods. Louisville was third in the voting.
"We're in a good spot, and it's a fair assessment based on our performance last season," said Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf. "I think we're in a great position to vie for the conference championship, and I know that this will provide a great challenge for the program in the season ahead."
Notre Dame, the 2007 BIG EAST Tournament runner-up, finished with an overall record of 32-24 while posting 13 conference wins in 20 contests last season. This Irish were fourth in the league's final 2007 regular-season standings.
The Irish have claimed 10 league regular-season titles and five tournament trophies since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1996, previously winning each in 2006. The squad returns a trio of all-league performers from the 2007 season, including senior Katie Laing and juniors Brittney Bargar and Beth Northway.
The 2008 season kicks off on Feb. 15 with a twinbill featuring Utah and Arizona in the Kajikawa Classic, which will be held in Tempe, Ariz.