Valparaiso University's softball team has been picked to finish third in the Mid-Continent Conference for the 2005 season according to the preseason poll as selected by the league's head coaches.
Head coach Randy Schneider's squad is coming off of a 21-34 season overall and a 13-11 mark in Mid-Con play, finishing in fourth place in 2004. Valpo advanced to the championship game of the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament. The Crusaders earned one first place vote and 25 total points in the league poll.
Centenary, last year's tournament champion, was picked to win the title this season, with Western Illinois selected second. Southern Utah was tabbed fourth, one point behind the Crusaders, followed by IUPUI, UMKC, and Oakland.
First place votes earned six points in the poll on a scale that saw one point issued for a sixth place pick. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The Crusaders will open up their 2005 regular season on March 5 at the Southern Illinois Classic. Valpo will face the tournament hosts in the opening game beginning at noon.
2005 Mid-Continent Conference Preseason Poll - Softball
1. Centenary (3) - 33
2. Western Illinois (2) - 30
3. Valparaiso (1) - 25
4. Southern Utah (1) - 24
5. IUPUI - 16
6. UMKC - 12
7. Oakland - 7
(First place votes in parentheses)