WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Sunshine State Conference poll has selected the Saint Leo University women's softball team to finish in the second spot this year, it was announced Thursday morning from the conference office. The Lions tallied a total of 57 points.
Saint Leo returns four All-SSC players, including first-team selections McKenzie Burns (OF) and Sarah Steiner (DP). Outfielder Chelsey Steedley and pitcher Alana Tabel also return for the Lions after being named all-conference second team a year ago.
In an extremely close preseason poll conducted by the SSC's head softball coaches, the University of Tampa was selected as the favorite to win the SSC title, although Saint Leo won the championship last season. The Spartans received 58 points in the poll, with one less first place vote than the Lions.
Rollins was selected to occupy the third spot (52) and received two first-place votes. Barry was tabbed to finish in the fourth spot (47), and rounding out the top five is Florida Tech (32). Nova Southeastern (27) came in the sixth spot followed closely by Florida Southern (26). Lynn (15) and Eckerd (10) rounded out the poll, finishing in 8th and 9th place, respectively.
In addition, the Lions are returning 14 players, combined with a solid group of eight additions. Head coach John Conway begins his fourth year at the helm looking to repeat last year's successes.
2014 Sunshine State Conference Preseason Softball Poll
Rank – Team, Points (1st-place votes)
1 – Tampa, 58 (3)
2 – Saint Leo, 57 (4)
3 – Rollins, 52 (2)
4 – Barry, 47
5 – Florida Tech, 32
6 – Nova Southeastern, 27
7 – Florida Southern, 26
8 – Lynn, 15
9 – Eckerd, 10