Lady Vols one of four SEC Programs to start in the Top 25 Rankings
The defending 2004 Southeastern Conference Eastern Division champion and 13th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol softball team has been predicted to finish second in the East in a vote of the league’s head coaches released on Wednesday. Fourth-year Lady Vol Co-Head Coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly boast nine returning letterwinners and welcome nine newcomers to a squad that established a program-high for victories last year by registering a 55-16 slate.
“The SEC is loaded with quality teams from top to bottom,” said Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. “Any team can beat the other on any given day. We appreciate being picked second in the SEC Eastern Division, and hope we will be able to compete well with all the teams in the forthcoming season. As a team with no seniors, it will be important that our underclassmen grow up fast.”
Georgia was the coaches’ selection to win both the 2005 SEC Eastern Division and regular-season titles after finishing second in its division last season. Alabama outdistanced 2004 Women’s College World Series participant LSU as the pick to triumph in the West.
The Bulldogs, fresh off a 55-17 campaign in 2004, earned six of 11 possible first-place votes for the regular-season crown and seven first-place votes in the East rankings for 47 points. The Lady Vols received four first-place votes in their division and barely trailed the Red & Black for the top spot with 44 total points. Florida (30), South Carolina (25) and Kentucky (14) rounded out the rest of the Eastern Division voting.
Alabama led the voting tally in the Western Division with 56 points and six first-place votes. LSU picked up five first-place votes and 45 total points after taking the SEC Western Division, regular-season and tournament titles last season. Mississippi State was third in the division with 38 points while Auburn (36), Arkansas (23) and Ole Miss (17) held down positions four through six, respectively.