Jan. 11, 2002
The University of Notre Dame softball team has been picked as co-favorites in the BIG EAST this season with Villanova, as both teams received 94 points in the conference’s preseason coaches poll. The Irish garnered six first place votes after finishing the 2001 season with a 54-7 record and a trip to the championship round of the NCAA region VII tournament.
Villanova is coming off a 43-10 season in 2001 and a second-place BIG EAST finish. Prior to this season’s poll, the Wildcats have never been picked first in the league entering the year.
Junior third base Andrea Loman led the Irish on the preseason all-BIG EAST team as the only unanimous selection on the squad. Loman will be making the switch from first base to third this season after posting a .377 batting average in conference competition last season with a team-high 17 RBI.
Seniors Jenny Kriech and Jarrah Myers, NFCA/Lousiville Slugger All-Americans in 2001, also are on the preseason all-BIG EAST team. Kriech hit .349 in league play last season with seven triples and five stolen bases. Myers, who ended up as a national team selection for the summer of 2001, hit .351 in BIG EAST play last year with eight RBI, three doubles and two triples.
Junior Andria Bledsoe, who will shift to shortstop from third base this season, earned preseason all-BIG EAST honors for the first time in her career. A 2000 all-BIG EAST rookie team pick, Bledsoe drove in 12 runs in league play last year with a .320 batting average.
Rounding out Notre Dame’s picks for the preseason all-BIG EAST team is 2001 first-team all-BIG EAST selection at designated player Lisa Mattison. Mattison scorched league pitching last year with a .393 average, five doubles and five RBI in 17 games.
Notre Dame begins the 2001 season in the Arizona/Pepsi Classic against the host Wildcats on Feb. 15, 2002, at 3 p.m.
2002 BIG EAST Softball Preseason Poll
1. Notre Dame (6), 94 pts.
Villanova (4), 94 pts.
3. Seton Hall, 73 pts.
4. Virginia Tech (1), 68 pts.
5. Connecticut, 64 pts.
6. Boston College, 55 pts.
7. St. John’s, 50 pts.
8. Syracuse, 41 pts.
9. Rutgers, 35 pts.
10. Pittsburgh, 19 pts.
11. Providence, 12 pts.
Preseason Player of the Year: Sara Carlson, Villanova
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Theresa Hornick, Villanova
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
P – Barb Cook, Connecticut
P – Theresa Hornick, Villanova
C – Jarrah Myers, Notre Dame
IF – Andria Bledsoe, Notre Dame
IF – Lisa Girolamo, Connecticut
IF – Kim Jackson, Seton Hall
IF – Andrea Loman, Notre Dame*
OF – Christina Holowich, Syracuse
OF – Jenny Kriech, Notre Dame
OF – McKenzie Richards, Seton Hall
OF – Mary Carroll Smith, Seton Hall
UT – Sara Carlson, Villanova
DP – Lisa Mattison, Notre Dame
* – indicates unanimous selection
Note: Due to a tie in the voting, there are four outfielders on the 2002 preseason team.