Valparaiso University's softball team was selected to finish in fourth place in the Mid-Continent Conference according to the preseason poll conducted of the league's head coaches.
Head coach Randy Schneider's squad garnered 20 total points and finished just three points behind Western Illinois for third place in the voting.
Southern Utah, the three-time defending regular season champion, was picked to win the crown yet again while Centenary was selected second. IUPUI was chosen to finish fifth followed by 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 2006 regular season at the Rebel Games in Orlando, Fla. on March 5. The Crusaders will face Saint Peter's and Maine on the first day of play.
2006 Mid-Continent Conference Preseason Poll
Team - Points
1. Southern Utah (5) - 35
2. Centenary (2) - 32
3. Western Illinois - 23
4. Valparaiso - 20
5. IUPUI - 17
6. UMKC - 14
7. Oakland - 6
(First place votes in parentheses)