Jan. 22, 2007
BERKELEY - The California softball team was picked to finish in a sixth place tie according to the annual Pac-10 softball preseason coaches poll released on Monday by the conference office.
Both California and Washington garnered 18 points to earn the sixth place tie. Last season's NCAA Champion, Arizona, was picked to win the conference after collecting five first place votes and 47 points overall. UCLA was a close second, earning 45 points and three first place votes. Arizona State earned the third place nod with 35 points.
Oregon State was picked fourth with 32 points, followed by Stanford (fifth) with 21 points. Oregon rounded out the poll with eight points.
The conference set a record in 2006 with seven teams winning NCAA Regionals. Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington all reached the Super Regionals last season, with the Wildcats, Sun Devils, Beavers, and Bruins marching on to Oklahoma City and the WCWS. The Pac-10's four representatives in the WCWS made up half the field -- the most of any conference.
Cal finished third in the conference standings last season. The Bears captured a conference championship in 2005, and finished fourth in the standings when they won the national title at the NCAA College World Series in 2002.
The Bears this season return seven position starters, including lone senior Alex Sutton. Sutton posted a .352 batting average last year and ranked second on the team in doubles (12) and RBI (36).
The 2007 squad also features seven freshmen (Brittany LaRosa, Shannon Houston, Christina Schallig, Marissa Drewrey, Vernae Sevilla, Bernice Masaniai and Taylor Kelly), four juniors (Julie Meyer, Erika Racklin, Jessica Moore, and Katie Vickers) and four sophomores (Lauren Frankiewicz, Morgan Siegel, Carly Winger, and Gina Leomiti).
2006 marked another banner season for the Golden Bears; they finished with a 48-14 mark, an appearance in the NCAA Super Regionals, and a No. 9 national ranking. Although denied an eighth straight trip to the College World Series, head coach Diane Ninemire has guided the Bears to an 855-398 record and 19 straight NCAA Regionals in 19 seasons.
The 2007 California softball schedule has the Golden Bears traveling throughout the country, facing 18 opponents that made postseason appearances in the 2006 season. Of those 18 opponents, 14 finished the season ranked in top-25 national polls (ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA). The 2007 schedule also includes 15 home games at Levine-Fricke Field, including 11 Pac-10 Conference match-ups.
The Bears will travel to several tournaments, including the Campbell/Carter Classic in San Diego where they open the season against Kansas on Feb. 9. The Bears then return home for their first non-conference home game on Feb. 14 against San Jose State.
2007 Pac-10 Conference Softball Coaches Preseason Poll
School (First Place Votes) - Points 1. Arizona (5) - 47 2. UCLA (3) - 45 3. Arizona State - 35 4. Oregon State - 32 5. Stanford - 21 t-6. California - 18 t-6. Washington - 18 8. Oregon - 8