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RETRIEVERS PICKED FIFTH IN AMERICA EAST PRESEASON SOFTBALL POLL
Fifth-year head coach Joe French's Retrievers were picked to finish fifth in the 2006 America East Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Boston-The UMBC softball team was picked to finish fifth in the 2006 America East Preseason Coaches’ poll, which was released today. The Retrievers received 26 points in a vote of the league’s head softball coaches.
Boston University received the remaining two first-place votes and 55 points overall for second place, followed by 2005 runner-up Stony Brook with 45 points.
Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Joe French, the Retrievers will look to advance to their first America East Championship since joining the conference before the 2004 season. The top four teams in the league earn berths to the tournament, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Championship.
Last season, UMBC finished sixth in the America East with a 7-13 league mark and a 26-31-1 overall record.
The Retrievers return four 2005 all-conference honorees in junior Reilly Ward (Olney, Md./Sherwood) and sophomores Kali Shirk (North Wales, Pa./North Penn), Dana Shepherd (
Ward, a 2005 all-conference second team selection, hit .288 with 12 home runs, the second-best single-season total in UMBC history. Shirk was named to both the all-conference second team and the all-rookie team last season after hitting .333 with a team-high 66 hits, becoming just the second freshman ever at UMBC to record more than 60 hits in a season. Shepherd followed suit with 63 hits and a .318 batting average in 2005 en route to an all-rookie team nod, while Shore emerged as one of the best catchers in the league last season.
The Retrievers open the season Feb. 24-26 at UNC-Wilmington’s Seahawk Classic. UMBC will compete in five weekend tournaments, hosting three, to begin the 2006 campaign. The UMBC Kickoff Classic is March 4-6, the Retrievers’ first home games of the season. America East play begins April 1-2 at
East Preseason Coaches’ Poll America
School (1st-Place Votes) Points
(6) 62 Albany
(2) 55 Boston U.
3. Stony Brook 45
5. UMBC 26