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.
2008 BIG EAST Preseason Softball Poll
1. DePaul (9) 2. South Florida (3) 3. Louisville 4. Notre Dame 5. Connecticut 6. St. John's 7. Rutgers 8. Syracuse 9. Pittsburgh 10. Seton Hall 11. Villanova 12. Providence
(x) - first-place votes