SEC Coaches Pick Gamecocks Fourth in East in Preseason Softball Poll
Jan. 31, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The University of South Carolina softball team was picked to finish fourth in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division in the league's preseason coaches poll, the conference office announced Thursday. The Gamecocks finished 2007 with a 38-26 overall record and a 12-16 SEC mark, seventh in the conference, while they were one of five SEC teams who advanced into the NCAA Tournament Super Regionals.
Carolina returns eight position starters and both of its main pitchers from a year ago. Seven seniors are back, including starting pitchers Melissa Hendon and Kate Pouliot, infielders Lisa Longo, Becky Martinez and Chrissy Schoonmaker, and outfielders Jessica Josker and Whitney Wierzbicki. Other major contributors back include sophomore shortstop Lindsay Walker, junior first baseman Jacqueline Wetherbee and junior outfielder Ashton Payne.
Alabama was chosen as the favorite in the SEC West and for the overall crown, with LSU a close second in the division race. Mississippi State came in third, with Auburn, Mississippi and Arkansas rounding out the standings.
Florida was chosen as the likely winner in the East, followed by 2007 NCAA Championship runner-up Tennessee. Georgia was picked third, followed by the Gamecocks and Kentucky.
Carolina has also been just outside the top 25 in both the NFCA/USA Today coaches' poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason rankings, finishing second in the others receiving votes in each poll.
South Carolina opens its season next week at the Florida Atlantic Kick-Off Classic against North Florida at 4 p.m. in Boca Raton, Fla.
Southeastern Conference Preseason Softball Coaches Poll