Auburn Receives Votes In Preseason ESPN.COM and USA Softball Top 25 Poll

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Auburn Receives Votes In Preseason ESPN.COM and USA Softball Top 25 Poll

January 25, 2005

AUBURN -- The Auburn softball team received 26 votes in the preseason 2005 ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Collegiate Poll, it was announced Tuesday.

It marks the first time in Auburn's nine-year history the Tigers have received votes in the preseason poll. The Tigers broke into the Top 25 for the first time last season on March 16 at 25th. Auburn was ranked as high as 14th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll before finishing the season at No. 20.

"This is a great spot to start the season," head coach Tina Deese said. "It gives us a great chance to move up especially with very competitive tournaments early in the season."

The Tigers finished 42-18 overall last season and earned their second ever berth into an NCAA Regional. Auburn went 19-10 in Southeastern Conference play in 2004, finishing second in the Western Division behind LSU. Pitcher Kristen Keyes and catcher Sara Dean both earned third-team All-America honors with Dean earning First-Team All-Region and All-SEC First-Team honors as well. Outfielder Sara Ghezzi and infielder Kristina McCain were both named to the All-SEC Freshman Team.

The Tigers return six starters and 12 letterwinners from last season's team while Deese, in her ninth season at the helm of the Auburn program, welcomes five newcomers to the club.

Four SEC teams start the season in the top 25 poll, headlined by No. 8 LSU. Georgia will start the season at No. 10, followed by No. 13 Tennessee and No. 15 Alabama. Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina also received votes in the initial poll. Auburn will also play against two other top 25 teams this season * No. 5 Stanford and No. 22 South Florida.

The Tigers and Bulls will face off in the first game of the season on Feb. 4 in Miami. First pitch is slated for 9 a.m. CT.