Jan. 17, 2008
IRVING, Texas - The University of Missouri softball team was the fourth-place vote-getter in the annual Big 12 Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, announced by the league office on Thursday. The Tigers earned 61 points in the poll behind Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Baylor.
For the third consecutive year, Texas A&M was selected as the league's preseason favorite, tallying seven first-place votes and 79 overall points. Oklahoma was selected to the second spot with 70 points and one first-place vote. Three points ahead of the Tigers is defending Big 12 regular-season champion Baylor, which garnered two first-place votes.
In the last five years, only the 2007 Sooners finished higher than fourth in the regular season after being ranked the conference's preseason no. 4 squad. In 2005, Baylor remained in the fourth spot at the close of the regular season.
Mizzou was predicted to finish eighth among the league's 10 teams in the 2007 preseason poll. The Tigers outperformed the poll's predictions, putting together a 40-24 record, including an impressive 13-4 conference record, to finish third in the Big 12 and the 19th-ranked team in the nation. The team also earned its 11th NCAA Regional Tournament appearance.
The Tigers return five starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's squad, including senior righthander Jen Bruck, senior Amanda Renth (1B), junior Andee Allen (2B) and sophomore Julie Sliver (OF).
The team opens the 2008 season on the road at the Florida International University Invitational, where they face Virginia Tech and FIU in a Feb. 8 doubleheader. Mizzou opens its home schedule with a two-game set against UMKC on Feb. 20 at University Field.
Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Texas A&M (7) 79
2. Oklahoma (1) 70
3. Baylor (2) 64
4. Missouri 61
5. Texas 45
6. Nebraska 43
7. Texas Tech 29
8. Oklahoma State 25
9. Kansas 23
10. Iowa State 11