Junior Alexa Maldonado

Irish Tabbed First In BIG EAST Preseason Poll

Jan. 26, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After claiming a share of last season’s BIG EAST Conference regular season title, the Notre Dame softball team has taken top honors in the 2011 edition of the preseason league coaches’ poll. The Irish earned an impressive 10 first-place votes and 141 total points.

Notre Dame returns six all-conference performers from 2010 including reigning BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year Jody Valdivia and third-team All-American Katie Fleury. The Irish went 47-12 overall last season and 18-3 against league foes while leading the nation with a .343 batting average.

DePaul, which shared the league’s 2010 regular season championship, was picked second with three first-place votes. Louisville garnered the third spot while Syracuse, the reigning BIG EAST champion, was picked to finish fourth.

This season’s BIG EAST Championship returns to Louisville, Ky., for the fourth straight season. The three-day tournament spans from May 12-14 with the final tilt to be televised live on ESPN2.

The Irish, who welcome four newcomers while returning 17 monogram winners from 2010, begin the season against Miami (Ohio) on Feb. 18 at the UCF Invitational in Orlando, Fla.

2011 BIG EAST Softball Preseason Poll
1. Notre Dame (10)2. DePaul (3)3. Louisville4. Syracuse5. Pittsburgh6. USF7. Villanova8. Providence9. Connecticut10. Rutgers11. St. John's12. Seton Hall13. Georgetown
(x) - indicates first place votes