Jan. 24, 2001
The UCLA softball team, the runner-up in last season's NCAA Championship, has been selected the preseason No. 1 by the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll. The Preseason Top 25 is voted on by 27 Division I softball coaches, representing all areas of the USA.
This is the second consecutive season that the Bruins have held the top spot in the NFCA's Preseason poll. UCLA returns 13 letterwinners for 2001, including five position starters and all three pitchers from the 2000 team. Additionally, the Bruins will once again enjoy the services of junior All-American catcher Stacey Nuveman, who sat out the 2000 collegiate season in order to participate with the U.S. Olympic Team, which won the gold medal in Sydney last September.
The Bruins have won nine National Championships in softball, including eight NCAA titles, most recently winning the 1999 Championship. UCLA will open its 2001 schedule at San Jos? State on Sat., Feb. 3 at the Early Bird Classic, and will open its home slate on Sat. Feb. 10 at 1 pm, with a doubleheader against San Diego at Easton Stadium.
All eight Pac-10 schools that sponsor softball are ranked in the poll's top-20: No. 3 Arizona, No. 4 Washington, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 7 California, No. 15 Stanford, No. 16 Oregon State and No. 20 Oregon. The Bruins non-conference schedule features six other ranked teams.
USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll (2001 UCLA opponents in italics)
|6.||Arizona State||43-20||523||10 (tie)|
|9.||Fresno State||54-14||455||10 (tie)|
|14.||Cal State Fullerton||45-15||295||19|
|18.||South Carolina||40-28||169||22 (tie)|
|22.||Long Beach State||39-23||125||NR|
Others Receiving Votes: Florida Atlantic (56), Illinois-Chicago (35), Hofstra (32), Massachusetts (32), Oklahoma State (31), Louisiana Lafayette (27), Florida (23), Texas A&M (23), Penn State (21), Central Michigan (20), Cal State Northridge (16), Hawaii (13), New Mexico (10), Wisconsin (8), North Carolina (7), Northwestern (6), Virginia Tech (6), South Florida (2). Three other schools (totaling 9 points) were mentioned on only one ballot and are not included among others receiving votes.
First-place votes are in parentheses. Records are from the 2000 season. LY is team's ranking in the final 2000 Top 25.