Lady Cajuns start 2010 campaign ranked No. 24/23

www.ragincajuns.com - The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) announced its 2010 Preseason Softball Poll on Tuesday and Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns debuted on the list at No. 24. The 2010 ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Collegiate Top 25 Poll, announced by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA,) has UL listed at No. 23.

The Cajuns finished the 2009 season at the NCAA Waco Regional ranked 25th in the USA Today/ NFCA Division I poll and was receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings.

The Cajuns return six All-Sun Belt Conference selections and eight All-Louisiana honorees. In addition, UL returns the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, Louisiana Pitcher of the Year and Louisiana Freshman of the Year to the roster in 2010.

Ashley Brignac, Donna Bourgeois and Brittany Cuevas are back in the circle to pace the Cajuns’ pitching efforts while Melissa Verde, Lana Bowers and Gabriele Bridges are back to power the offense.

The softball team’s speedsters - Vallie Gaspard and Katie Smith - return as well. The duo combined for 104 base hits in 2009.

Louisiana opens the season on Friday, Feb. 12, as they host the 24th Annual Louisiana Classics at Alfred and Helen Lamson Ragin’ Cajuns Softball Park. The Cajuns will face Bryant, Bradley and Syracuse in the three-day tournament.

The Cajuns will face six opponents this season that are ranked in the both preseason polls (Washington - No. 1/1; Michigan - No. 4/3; Missouri - No. 9/9; Georgia Tech - No. 13/14; UMass - No. 20/25; Fresno State - No. 25/24). Four more opponents on the 2010 slate are receiving votes in the NFCA poll (Houston, Texas, Purdue, Cal State Fullerton).

After winning its first-ever national championship in 2009, the Washington Huskies will begin the 2010 softball season as the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation. Four other participants from last year’s Women’s College World Series, Alabama, Florida, Michigan and Arizona State, round out the top five.

The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference. Final 2009 records are shown. First-place votes are in parentheses. 2010 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll

RANK TEAM ‘09 Record TOTALS Last Poll

1 Washington (30) 51-12 750 1

2 Alabama 54-11 677 3

3 Florida 63-5 649 2

4 Michigan 47-12 625 6

5 Arizona St. 47-19 613 5

6 Arizona 46-17 597 7

7 Georgia 47-12 569 4

8 UCLA 45-11 558 9

9 Missouri 50-12 536 8

10 Stanford 48-11 433 10

11 Oklahoma 41-16 401 16

12 California 38-20 370 11

13 Georgia Tech 46-15 319 13

14 Ohio St. 47-11 312 12

15 Northwestern 31-15 288 18

16 Tennessee 40-18-1 245 20

17 Baylor 40-22 226 15

18 LSU 34-18-1 219 19

19 North Carolina 47-13 209 17

20 Massachusetts 41-10 199 14

21 DePaul 39-14 178 23

22 Louisville 48-11 166 RV

23 Florida St. 44-16 109 22

24 Louisiana 45-13 88 25

25 Fresno St. 38-20 75 RV

Others Receiving Votes:

North Dakota St. 44, Jacksonville St. 38, Cal Poly 37, Nevada 31, Nebraska 28, Texas 23, Notre Dame 21, Cal St. Fullerton 17, San Diego St. 15, Iowa 11, Kentucky 11, Purdue 10, Hawaii 8, Mississippi St. 7, Southern Illinois 7, Cal St. Northridge 6, Texas A&M 6, Tulsa 6, Creighton 4, BYU 3, Houston 3, Oklahoma St. 3

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