Feb. 2, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
A survey of the conference coaches picked the Matadors to finish fifth in the Big West Conference in 2010, the league office announced Tuesday. Northridge received one first-place vote and 28 points overall in the 2010 Big West Preseason Softball Coaches Poll.
"We are excited for another season in the Big West Conference," Associate Coach Roni Sparrey said. "I think there is a lot of parity in the league and the Matadors look forward to competing against all the league clubs for the Big West title."
Cal Poly, the defending league champ, was picked to repeat at the top spot, garnering four first place votes and 56 points overall. Long Beach State was tabbed second with one first-place vote and 51 overall points. Cal State Fullerton checked in at third with two first-place votes and 50 points overall. All three of those teams participated in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
UC Santa Barbara was fifth with 43 points, while UC Davis (25) was sixth, Pacific (19) was seventh and UC Riverside (16) was eighth. At stake for all the clubs in the Big West Conference is an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which is awarded to the league champion.
With eight starters, three pitchers and 13 letterwinners returning for CSUN in 2010, expectations are high at Matador Diamond. Northridge received six votes in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll released on Jan. 26 and will play a challenging schedule that features a slate of 52 games overall and 26 contests against 17 different teams that participated in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
The Matadors also bring back a strong senior class of six players who have contributed in numerous ways to Northridge softball over the past three seasons: Alexandria Alvarado, Lauren Olivas, Christina Saenz, Jaclyn Rymer, Debbie Duran and Amanda Pitzenberger.
In 2009, Northridge finished 29-21 overall and 9-12 in league play to finish tied for fourth place with UC Santa Barbara. The team strung together an 11-game winning streak during the year, taking home two tournament titles and defeating several NCAA Tournament teams.
Northridge opens the season on Feb. 12-14 at the Kajikawa Classic on the campus of Arizona State. In Tempe, the team will face five squads that qualified for the tournament, including defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Washington.
The Matadors' home opener is slated for Mar. 27 with a doubleheader against Michigan State starting at noon.