Junior Shelby Burchell
Jan. 25, 2011
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 4-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol softball team has been picked at the top of the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division according to the 2011 preseason poll of the league's 11 softball coaching staffs. UT also garnered three votes as the choice to win the league's regular season crown.
With 17 accumulated points the Big Orange led No. 3 Georgia (18 pts.) by a single point and defending SEC East titlist No. 5 Florida (22 pts.) by five tallies. Kentucky (37 pts.) and South Carolina (46 pts.) rounded out the five programs in the division. Amazingly, the SEC East enters the 2011 campaign boasting three of the top five teams in the country per the preseason USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) rankings.
The defending SEC regular season and tournament champion Alabama Crimson Tide (10 pts.) was selected to repeat both its division title and SEC overall crown. The gap between the sixth-ranked Tide and No. 19 LSU was nine points, while Auburn rated third with 33 tallies. Arkansas (fourth/36 pts.), Mississippi State (fifth/39 points) and Ole Miss (sixth/51 pts.) completed the West standings.
Points for the poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5 basis for the Eastern Division and on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 basis for the Western Division. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The Lady Vols start their new campaign at the Stetson Leadoff Classic in DeLand, Fla., on Feb 12th. During the event, Tennessee will face-off against Michigan State (twice), home-standing Stetson and Boston College. Live stats will be available through Gametracker and periodical updates will be posted on Twitter. Check both http://twitter.com/TennSoftball and http://twitter.com/UTLadyVols for more information on Tennessee Lady Vol softball.
2011 Preseason SEC Coaches Poll
Overall Conference Champion: Alabama (4), TENNESSEE (3), Georgia (3), Florida (1)
1. TENNESSEE (17 points)
2. Georgia (18 points)
3. Florida (22 points)
4. Kentucky (37 points)
5. South Carolina (46 points)
1. Alabama (10 points)
2. LSU (19 points)
3. Auburn (33 points)
4. Arkansas (36 points)
5. Mississippi State (46 points)
6. Ole Miss (51 points)