Softball Picked 7th in Atlantic Sun Preseason Poll

Feb. 2, 2004

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The JU softball team has been picked seventh in the 2004 Atlantic Sun Preseason Media Poll and eighth in the preseason coaches poll, as released by the conference today. Defending champion, Florida Atlantic, was again chosen as the favorite in both polls after winning both the regular-season and tournament championship in 2003, while returning three preseason all-conference players. JU returns eight players from last year's team, which won 23 games during its inaugural campaign and finished 9th in the A-Sun.

UCF, which returns A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year Stephanie Best, was voted second in the coaches poll and fourth in the media poll. Stetson was also tabbed second in the coaches poll and the media poll, while Troy State was voted third.

The Dolphins will be led offensively by senior shortstop Dianna Korcak (Clearwater, Fla.), who led team and ranked eighth in the A-Sun last year with a .346 average, while belting a team-high six triples. The Dolphins will also count on sophomore catcher Janine Palumbo (Palm Harbor, Fla.) to add solid offensive numbers at the plate after hitting .286 with 16 RBI as a freshman, while leading the Atlantic Sun with 24 sacrifice bunts.

Sophomore pitching ace Katie Dobson (Clearwater, Fla.) returns after winning nine games with a 2.76 ERA as a freshman, while leading the team in appearances (30), strikeouts (149) and innings pitched (185.1). Junior college transfer Stacey Bell (Jacksonville, Fla.) and freshman Katie Buell (Alpharetta, Ga.) are expected to help shoulder the pitching load.

The Dolphins open the 2004 season on the road at Savannah State Wednesday with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

2004 Atlantic Sun Preseason Media Poll (1st-place votes) 1. Florida Atlantic-132 (11) 2. Stetson-98 2. Troy State-98 2. UCF-98 5. Mercer-72 6. Georgia State-66 7. Jacksonville-47 8. Campbell-45 9. Lipscomb-39 10. Gardner-Webb-22 11. Belmont-21

2004 Atlantic Sun Preseason Coaches Poll (1st-place votes) 1. Florida Atlantic-130 (10) 2. Stetson-99 3. Troy State-98 (1) 4. UCF-96 5. Mercer-75 6. Georgia State-68 7. Campbell-47 8. Jacksonville-43 9. Lipscomb-41 10. Gardner-Webb-24 11. Belmont-16

Predicted Tournament Champion: Florida Atlantic

2004 Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference Team P-Jennifer Buckley, Stetson P-Amanda Morin, Florida Atlantic IF-Stephanie Best,UCF* IF-Meghan Clark, Mercer IF-Pam Mazzarella, Florida Atlantic IF-Melissa Wiggins, Stetson OF-Jenny Boyd, Troy State OF-Ginny Matthews, Florida Atlantic OF-Jania Shinhoster, UCF C-Tamra Howren, Troy State DP/U-Blake Hoorelbeke, Stetson

Preseason Player of the Year: Stephanie Best, UCF