The Valparaiso University softball team has been selected to finish sixth in the Mid-Continent Conference in the preseason poll as voted on by the conference head coaches.
UMKC and Oakland are the co-favorites, followed by Western Illinois. Southern Utah was picked fourth, followed by IUPUI and the Crusaders.
Head coach Jerry Stieger's squad is coming off of a 14-31 season in 2002, but lost just three players to graduation for the coming season. The Crusaders will open their season on March 3 against Albany and Bethune-Cookman in Orlando, Fla.