Southern Maine Tabbed As Coaches' Preseason Pick
GORHAM, Maine - The University of Southern Maine Huskies received five
first-place votes and 60 points to finish first among the eight teams in the
annual preseason poll of the Little East Conference's softball coaches.
The Huskies finished ahead of the Western Connecticut State University
Colonials, who captured the other three first-place votes and 54 total points. A
year ago, Western Connecticut posted a 13-1 mark to win its second consecutive
LEC regular-season title, before adding the conference tournament title. The
Colonials received the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they
compiled a 1-2 slate to finish the campaign with an overall mark of 35-4.
The only conference team to defeat Western Connecticut in the 2001 regular
season was Southern Maine, which finished in second place with a 10-4 conference
ledger and concluded the year with an overall mark of 21-14.
Keene State, which bowed to Western Connecticut in last year's title game,
received 48 points to finish third in the preseason poll. The Owls compiled a
9-5 record to finish third in the conference race a year ago, while their
overall record was 20-16.
The remainder of the poll found Rhode Island College (7-7; 22-19) in
fourth place with 43 points, Eastern Connecticut (8-6; 18-22) in fifth place
with 30 points, Plymouth State (4-10; 10-20) in sixth place with 27 points,
UMass Dartmouth (5-9; 12-19) in seventh place with 18 points, and UMass Boston
(0-14; 1-19) in eighth place with 8 points.
Each of the league's eight members will play a 14-game, regular-season
conference schedule, consisting of doubleheaders against the remaining seven
league foes. The top six teams will advance to the conference tournament, with
the top two teams receiving a first-round bye. Opening round games will be
played on April 30 at the site of the higher seed. The two winners will advance
to the four-team, double-elimination tournament to be held on May 3-4 at the
site of the regular-season champion.
2002 Little East Conference Preseason Softball Poll
Rk Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1) Southern Maine (5) 60
2) Western Connecticut (3) 54
3) Keene State 48
4) Rhode Island College 43
5) Eastern Connecticut 30
6) Plymouth State 27
7) UMass Dartmouth 18
8) UMass Boston 8