The Valparaiso University softball team has been tabbed to finish in fourth place in the Mid-Continent Conference in preseason polling of the league's head coaches.
Head coach Randy Schneider returns 15 out of 16 letterwinners from his 2006 squad which won 22 games, the most by a Crusader softball team in 17 seasons. Valpo garnered 18 points in the polling, which granted seven points for a first-place vote.
Western Illinois is the preseason favorite to take top honors in the Mid-Con, registering 32 points, including three first-place votes. Centenary and Southern Utah each received two first-place votes and tallied 30 and 29 points, respectively. IUPUI checked in at 17 points, good for fifth place, while Oakland (13) and UMKC (8) rounded out the voting.
The Crusaders open the 2007 campaign at the Rebel Spring Games in Orlando, Fla., with the season opener being contested versus Detroit on March 4.