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FERRIS STATE SOFTBALL TABBED AS GLIAC PRESEASON FAVORITE

League Coaches Select Bulldogs To Win 2009 Conference Title

*2009 GLIAC Softball Coaches Preseason Poll Release* PDF

Sarah Mueller
Senior pitcher-outfielder Sarah Mueller and the Bulldogs were selected as the GLIAC's 2009 preseason favorite.

The Ferris State University softball team has been picked to win the 2009 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Softball Championship in the annual conference coaches preseason poll, which was released Wednesday (Feb. 25) by the GLIAC office.

Ferris State, which was tabbed sixth in the 2009 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Preseason Top 25 poll, was the top choice in the preseason polling of the GLIAC coaches as the Bulldogs took six of the 10 first-place votes to finish with 78 total points. The preseason conference top-placing distinction is a first for Ferris State since the poll debuted in the 2002 campaign. Prior to this season, FSU's highest placing in the poll was in 2006 when the Bulldogs received a second-place 88 total points and three first-place votes.

The Bulldogs, under 12th-year head coach Keri Becker, received six more points than Wayne State for top preseason poll honors. The Warriors, who tied Ferris State for first place in the final 2008 conference regular-season standings with identical 16-4 league marks, totaled 72 points and had two first-place votes. Saginaw Valley State, which along with Ferris State and Wayne State competed in the 2008 NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament, received the other two first-place votes as the 2008 GLIAC Tournament Champions garnered 67 points. Grand Valley State (55 points) and Ashland (53 points) rounded out the top five in the 10-team poll.

Each of the GLIAC's 10 head softball coaches ranked each of the conference teams, but weren't allowed to vote for their own squad. The first-place team on each ballot received nine points while the second-place team earned eight points, etc.

The 2009 GLIAC Softball Tournament will be conducted May 1-3 at the Emerson Park Softball Complex in Midland, Mich., for the fifth consecutive year. The top eight teams with the best regular-season conference records qualify for the double-elimination league tourney.

Ferris State's strong preseason outlook is based primarily on the fact of the Bulldogs returning all but two starters from last year's 35-18 team which not only captured the 2008 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional crown but also finished in a fifth-place tie at the 2008 NCAA-II Softball Championships. The regional and national championship tournament appearances for Ferris State represented the fifth and third, respectively in the program's 36-year history.

A season ago, the Bulldogs were forecast to tie for third place with 79 points and one first-place vote. In the 2007 preseason, Ferris State compiled a fifth-place 67 points total.

Ferris State will officially begin its 2009 campaign at the Florida Rebel Spring Games Tournament (March 7-14) in Kissimmee, Fla., following the recent cancellation of this weekend's (Feb. 28-March 1) Kentucky Wesleyan Challenge in Owensboro, Ky. The Bulldogs' home and conference opener is scheduled for Sunday, March 29, versus Grand Valley State at the FSU Varsity Softball Field in Big Rapids, Mich.

2009 GLIAC Softball Coaches Preseason Poll
Rank/School (First-Place Votes) Points
1. Ferris State (6) 78
2. Wayne State (2) 72
3. Saginaw Valley State (2) 67
4. Grand Valley State 55
5. Ashland 53
6. Northwood 37
7. Tiffin 29
8. Hillsdale 25
9. Findlay 20
10. Lake Superior State 14

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