Jan. 31, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The No. 18/19 University of Louisville softball team was chosen as the preseason favorite in 2014 American Athletic Conference Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll, as selected by the league's eight head coaches.
Louisville received six of seven possible first place votes for 48 total points to take the honor. The Cardinals are coming off an impressive 2013 season which saw the program post a 47-13 overall record and an 18-4 conference mark in the former Big East. UofL also earned its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth and the overall No. 15 seed for the second straight season. The 2014 Cardinal squad will return eight letterwinners and six starters, including senior and 2013 NFCA Second Team All-American second baseman Katie Keller. Five other seniors and Big East award winners: Caralisa Connell, Taner Fowler, Hannah Kiyohara, Rachel LeCoq and Maggie Ruckenbrod, will join Keller in pursuit of an 11th straight NCAA bid, all of which have come under 15th-year head coach Sandy Pearsall.
No. 23/25 USF took the second-place slot, picking up two first place vote and 44 overall points. The 2013 Big East Champions advanced to their second-straight and eleventh overall NCAA Tournament appearance last year. Houston, the 2013 Conference USA tournament runner-up stands at third in the league coaches' poll. The Cougars have been to three straight NCAA tournaments. UCF, Rutgers, Connecticut, Memphis and Temple round out the preseason standings.
The conference's teams all begin play within the next three weeks, with the eight teams looking toward the inaugural American Athletic Conference Softball Championship. Held at the Cougar Softball Field on the campus of the University of Houston May 8-10, the Championship will take the form of a single-elimination bracket. The quarterfinal and semifinal matchups will all be broadcast live on The American Digital Network, with the final featured live on ESPNEWS.
2014 American Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
School (First Place Votes) - Points
1. Louisville (6) - 48
2. USF (2) - 44
3. Houston - 37
4. UCF - 29
5. Rutgers - 23
6. UConn - 15
Memphis - 15
8. Temple - 13
Released in conjunction with American Athletic Conference media relations