OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Coming off the 2003 National Championship title, the UCLA Bruins rank No. 1 in the preseason edition of the 2004 ESPN.com /USA Softball Top 25 Collegiate Poll. Set to kick-off the season on February 7 against Santa Clara, the Bruins return 11 players from the 2003 championship roster including pitching workhorse Keira Goerl (Moreno Valley, CA) who tossed a no-hitter in the 2003 NCAA title game. With the addition of two powerful freshman in National Player of the Year Lisa Dodd (San Diego, CA) and USA Softball Junior National Team member Jodie Legaspi (Garden Grove, CA) the Bruins are loaded once again.
Listed at No. 2, the 2003 National runner-up California Bears will return to the field led by pitcher Kelly Anderson (Woodland, CA). Close behind are the always competitive Arizona Wildcats at No. 3 who return first team All-American pitcher Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, CA) and senior catching sensation Mackenzie Vandergeest (Newbury Park, CA).
At No. 4 Oklahoma makes the charts after an appearance in the 2003 WCWS. The Sooners return pitching ace Kami Keiter (Arvada, CO) and will have the services of a talented freshman in USA Softball Junior National Team member Norelle Dickson (Orange, CA). The Washington Huskies round out the top 5 returning hurler Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, CA) and 2003 first-team Pac 10 catcher Kristen Rivera (Perris, CA).
Seven of the eight 2003 WCWS teams enter 2004 in the Top 10. Despite not being in the Top 25 poll in 2003, the Tennessee Lady Volunteers crack the poll at No. 25 in large part to the addition of freshman ace Monica Abbott (Salinas, CA). Abbott led the USA Softball Junior Women’s Team to a silver medal at the ISF Junior Women’s World Championships this past fall and is considered one of the top freshman in the country.
The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll is voted on by NCAA Division I coaches representing 15 different ASA regions and 12 different collegiate conferences. The poll is also voted on by selected softball media members. First-place votes are in parentheses.
Log on to www.usasoftball.com for weekly Top 25 Polls and USA Softball ‘Player of the Week’ honors which will begin February 10. Also follow the ‘2004 Watch List’ for USA Softball ‘Player of the Year.’
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