Jan. 11, 2006
IRVINE, CA -
The Big West head softball coaches picked Cal State Fullerton to win the Big West championship, as the Titans received six first place votes and 48 points in the preseason coaches poll released on Wednesday.
Cal State Fullerton made a return to the postseason in 2005 after missing the NCAA Championships in 2004. Prior to the 2004 season, the Titans made five straight trips to the post season (1999-2003). The Titans also captured the Big West title four straight seasons (1999-2003). The Titans return four all-conference players from last season, including Candice Baker (Buena Park, Calif.) and Ashley Van Boxmeer (Orange, Calif.).
Baker was named All-Big West Second Team and NFCA All-Region First Team in 2005 at the utility position, while Van Boxmeer led the Titans in home runs (10) and is the Titans top returning hitter (.319).
Long Beach State finished in second place in the poll with 39 points and garnered one first place vote. The 49ers finished the 2005 season with a 39-16 overall record and a 19-2 finish in conference. LBSU returns six starters from last year's squad, including the 2005 Big West Freshman Field Player of the Year Jonae Perez (Moorpark, Calif).
The 49ers have won the Big West softball crown the past two seasons and have made three straight trips to the postseason.
Cal Poly followed in third place with 32 points. The Mustangs finished second in conference in 2005 under the direction of Big West Coach of the Year Jenny Condon. Cal Poly returns six starters from last years squad, including the 2005 Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year Robyn Kontra (Valencia, Calif.). The Mustangs led the conference in batting and finished with a 35-16 record and a 15-6 showing in conference.
Rounding out the Big West preseason coaches poll was UC Santa Barbara and Pacific in a tied for fourth place with 26 points followed by Cal State Northridge (16), and UC Riverside (9).
2006 BIG WEST PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Cal State Fullerton (6) - 48
2. Long Beach State (1) - 39
3. Cal Poly - 32
t4. UC Santa Barbara - 26
t4. Pacific - 26
6. Cal State Northridge - 16
7. UC Riverside - 9