Valparaiso University's softball team was picked to finish in seventh place in the Mid-Continent Conference according to the annual preseason poll selected by the league's head coaches.
First year head coach Randy Schneider has inherited a team that finished 7-37 overall and 3-16 in the league last season, placing fifth. He has added 11 freshmen to go along with 12 returnees heading into the season.
Southern Utah was tabbed to win the league title, followed by Western Illinois and Oakland. UMKC was picked fourth, ahead of Centenary, IUPUI, and the Crusaders.
Valpo will open its 2004 season on March 6 as the Crusaders will face Indiana State, Eastern Illinois, and Central Connecticut State in Terre Haute, Ind.
2004 Mid-Continent Conference Preseason Poll-Softball
1. Southern Utah (5)-33
2. Western Illinois (1)-28
3. Oakland (1)-25
(First place votes in parentheses)