Jan. 26, 2011
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - -
The University of Louisville softball team was picked to finish third in the 2011 BIG EAST Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll. Notre Dame was the preseason favorite and DePaul was picked to finish second.
Louisville garnered 123 points to earn the No. 3 spot in the preseason coaches' poll. The Cardinals went 41-19 in 2010 and were 16-6 in league play. Louisville, the 2010 BIG EAST Championship runner-up, returns five All-BIG EAST selections, including 2010 BIG EAST Player of the Year Chelsea Bemis. The senior third baseman led all players in BIG EAST games in slugging percentage (1.032), home runs (11) and total bases (65). She hit .413 in conference play with 26 hits and 29 RBI. Along with Bemis, The Cards also return all-conference team members Tori Collins, Kristin Austin, Colby Wherry and Alicja Wolny.
Notre Dame earned 10 first-place votes and 141 total points as the coaches' favorite to win the league. The Irish return three 2010 All-BIG EAST First Team picks and three second teamers. Notre Dame went 47-12 overall in 2010 and 18-3 in the BIG EAST.
DePaul, which shared the league's 2010 regular season championship, came in second in this year's poll with three first-place votes and 129 points. The Blue Demons posted a 39-18 overall record last season and an 18-3 conference mark last season.
This season's BIG EAST Championship returns to Louisville, Ky., for the fourth straight season. The three- day tournament begins on May 12 with four quarterfinal games. The championship game on May 14 at 5 p.m. will be televised live on ESPN2.
U of L opens the 2011 season against No. 15/15 Texas at the Texas Invitational Feb. 11-13 in Austin, Texas.
2011 BIG EAST Softball Preseason Poll
1. Notre Dame (10)
2. DePaul (3)
11. St. John's
12. Seton Hall
(-) - indicates first place votes