by Katie Parker, sports information graduate assistant
Starkville, Miss. - The Georgia College & State University softball team earned national marks in the preseason National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll taking the 20th slot as announced yesterday (Jan. 28).
The top 25 teams are voted on by NCAA Division II head coaches, two representing each of the eight NCAA regions. Lock Haven University took top honors while defending NCAA Champion Humboldt State University earned a second place ranking. The Bobcats managed to snag No. 20 after taking third in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Preseason Poll last week.
Two other Peach Belt teams were listed in the top 25 national rankings. Francis Marion University was the highest ranked conference team taking fifth. Despite being picked as the PBC preseason favorite, North Georgia came in five spots below Francis Marion at No. 11.
The 2008 Bobcat softball team won the program's first PBC Tournament title, taking a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight season, all under fifth-year head coach Ginger Chaffinch. The Bobcats tallied the third-most wins in school history at 40-14 and reached as high as No. 2 in the NFCA Rankings.
The Bobcats open their season in Aiken, S.C. at the Early Bird Tournament, Saturday, Feb. 7 at 10 a.m. against Charleston University (W.Va.). The GCSU home opener is Saturday, Feb. 14 with a doubleheader against Wingate University beginning at noon.
Visit www2.GCSU.edu/Bobcats to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame. The GCSU Department of Athletics sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, GCU prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement.