Feb. 3, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame softball team received a total of 80 voting points to finish third in the league standings in the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) preseason coaches poll, the conference office announced Monday.
Set to begin their first season as an ACC member, the Irish trailed only defending ACC regular-season champion Florida State (98 points, eight first-place votes) and defending ACC tournament champion North Carolina State (87 points, three first-place votes) in the preseason predicted order of finish. The league's 11 head coaches each cast a ballot for the poll, and were not able to include their own team.
"We are very proud to be picked third in our inaugural ACC preseason poll," Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. "For us to be included in the upper echelon of talent in the league entering our first year is a great accomplishment, but it also gives us something to build on as well."
The Irish (43-15, 19-3 in 2013) won the BIG EAST Conference regular-season championship in their final campaign as a league member last season, defeating No. 9 Louisville two games to one in the final conference series of the year to claim the title. Notre Dame added a runner-up finish at the 2013 BIG EAST Championship in Tampa, Fla., and made its 18th all-time appearance (15th consecutive) in the NCAA Championship as part of the Lexington (Ky.) Regional.
"What our preseason ranking also affirms is a great amount of respect given to the BIG EAST, and our tenure in that conference, by the ACC," Gumpf said. "As last year's BIG EAST regular-season champion and tournament runner-up, we are excited to show that we can compete with the best of the ACC, a conference where you never have a weekend off."
Notre Dame returns 13 monogram winners, including 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American and USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Top 10 finalist Emilee Koerner (.439, team record 21 2B, 11 HR, 47 RBI) and the 2013 BIG EAST Player of the Year Laura Winter (29-12, 1.72 ERA, 306 K/.338, 17 HR, 52 RBI), this season. Other top returnees include 2013 all-BIG EAST third team selections Micaela Arizmendi (.257, 13 RBI), Jenna Simon (.316, 44 R, 17 SB) and Cassidy Whidden (.287, 9 HR, 31 RBI).
Gumpf enters her 13th season at the helm of the Irish, and first as an ACC skipper, as the program's all-time winningest coach with a 508-207-1 (.710) career record. Notre Dame won the 1,000th game in the program's 26-year history last season during a doubleheader on April 3, 2013 at Georgetown.
The Irish were also in the receiving votes category of both the USA Today/NFCA Division I and ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 preseason polls that were released last week.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
2014 ACC SOFTBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
Rank Team Points (First-Place Votes) 2013 Record (ACC)
1. Florida State 98 (8) 44-19 (18-2)
2. North Carolina State 87 (3) 35-20 (13-7)
3. Notre Dame 80 43-15
4. North Carolina 74 40-21 (13-8)
5. Virginia Tech 70 38-21 (9-11)
6. Maryland 50 31-26 (13-8)
7. Syracuse 42 23-29
8. Georgia Tech 40 25-30 (10-10)
9. Virginia 26 21-28 (4-17)
10. Pittsburgh 24 19-29
11. Boston College 14 14-38 (2-19)
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant