SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo softball team earned 61 points to finish sixth in the 2010 Sunshine State Conference Preseason poll, it was announced Friday by SSC Commissioner Jay Jones. Nova Southeastern has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2010 SSC softball championship.

Saint Leo, which concluded the 2009 year with a 30-25 record, ended play sixth in the SSC with a 9-15 mark. Saint Leo returns eight players from last year’s team and welcomes six new players into the mix.

Leading that group is a trio of .300 hitters, including the outfield pair of Tiffinee Harvey and Amber Martyn. Also, Catcher Brittany Yates collected 52 hits as a freshman, while posting a rookie-record 13 home runs in ’09. The group, along with a talented cast of others, will lead Saint Leo into their first series of 2010 against NAIA rival Webber International on Friday, February 5th.  First pitch for the doubleheader is set for 5:00 p.m.

Collecting a total of 114 points, the Sharks of Nova Southeastern just edged Florida Southern, which ranked second in the preseason poll with 111 points.  NSU received seven first-place votes, while Florida Southern collected five.

Separated by the slimmest of margins, Tampa and Rollins occupied the third and fourth slots in the poll, respectively.  Tampa tallied 93 points and four first-place votes, while Rollins accumulated 92 points and the two remaining first-place nods.

Barry placed fifth in the poll with 85 points. Lynn (39) was selected seventh, while Florida Tech (37) and Eckerd (16) rounded out the selections.

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league’s softball coaches and sports information directors.

Rank – School, Points (1st Place Votes)
1 – Nova Southeastern, 114 (7)
2 – Florida Southern, 111 (5)
3 – Tampa, 93 (4)
4 – Rollins, 92 (2)
5 – Barry, 85
6 – Saint Leo, 61
7 – Lynn, 39
8 – Florida Tech, 37
9 – Eckerd, 16