Crusaders Tabbed Fifth in Preseason Poll
Sara Strickland and the Crusaders are picked to finish fifth in the HL this season. (Ray Acevedo)
Crusaders Tabbed Fifth in Preseason Poll
Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Valparaiso University softball team has been picked to finish in fifth place in the Horizon League standings for the 2011 season in preseason polling by the league’s head coaches.

First-year head coach Jordan Stevens returns 14 letterwinners from the 2010 squad, including eight starting position players and both starting pitchers.  Seven of the Crusader returnees hit over .300 a year ago, while Valpo ranked among the top-50 in the nation in batting average, slugging percentage, earned run average, doubles, triples and stolen bases.

Valparaiso received 39 points in the polling, which awarded nine points for a first-place vote.  Cleveland State and UIC each picked up four first-place votes, with the Vikings edging out the Flames 58-57 for the top spot in the polling.  Butler and Wright State tied for the third spot with 43 points apiece, while the latter earned the one remaining first-place vote.  Following the Crusaders were Loyola (31), Green Bay (28), Youngstown State (17) and Detroit (9).

The Crusaders kick off the 2011 campaign this Saturday, February 12 at the Cyclone Indoor Invitational, playing four games over their two days at the tournament.

 

Team

Points (1st place votes)

1.

Cleveland State

58 (4)

2.

UIC

57 (4)

3.

Butler

43

 

Wright State

43 (1)

5.

Valparaiso

39

6.

Loyola

31

7.

Green Bay

28

8.

Youngstown State

17

9.

Detroit

9