Softball Picked to Finish 11th in A-Sun Preseason Coaches Poll

Jan. 21, 2003

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The first-year Jacksonville University softball team has been picked to finish 11th in the 2003 Atlantic Sun Preseason Coaches Poll, while being selected to finish 10th in the Media Poll, released by the league office Tuesday. Defending Atlantic Sun Champion Florida Atlantic, which has won or shared five of the last six A-Sun titles, was chosen as the favorite in both polls, receiving 146 points in the coaches poll and 223 in the media poll. FAU and Troy State each received four points in the coaches poll as the predicted tournament champion, while the Owls garnered all nine points in the media poll as the unanimous choice to capture the tournament title. The Dolphins kick off the 2003 season by hosting Webber International at 1:30 p.m. at the JU Softball Complex.

UCF was selected second receiving 133 points in the coaches poll, followed by Troy State, Stetson, Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Campbell, Samford, Mercer, Gardner-Webb, JU and Belmont. The Lady Trojans were picked to finish second in the media poll, edging out the Golden Knights for the second spot by one point. Stetson was tabbed to finish fourth, followed by Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Campbell, Samford, Mercer, JU, Gardner-Webb and Belmont.

UCF's Dottie Cupp was voted as the league's preseason MVP. Cupp finished last season with a 26-6 record and 1.11 ERA, while striking out 213. Along with Cupp, UCF had two other players make the preseason team. Stetson, Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville State were the only other school's to have more than one player selected.

2003 A-Sun Preseason Coaches Poll
Rk.      Team              Pts.
1        FAU               146
2        UCF               133
3        Troy State        120
4        Stetson           106
5        Georgia State      97
6        Jacksonville St.   94
7        Campbell           63
8        Samford            55
9        Mercer             50
10       Gardner-Webb       31
11       JU                 30
12       Belmont            29

Predicted Tournament Champion: Troy State (4) & FAU (4)

2003 A-Sun Preseason Media Poll Rk. Team Pts. 1 FAU 223 2 Troy State 188 3 UCF 187 4 Stetson 160 5 Georgia State 155 6 Jacksonville St. 121 7 Campbell 87 8 Samford 80 9 Mercer 74 10 JU 62 11 Gardner-Webb 55 12 Belmont 49

Predicted Tournament Champion: FAU (9)

2003 A-Sun Preseason Softball Team Pos. Player Sch. Cl. P Dottie Cupp UCF Sr. P Melanie McElhaney Stet Sr. C Tamra Howren TSU So. IF Pam Mazzarella FAU So. IF Renee Hassan JSU Jr. IF Stephanie Best UCF So. IF Allie Simons JSU Sr. OF Ginny Matthews FAU Jr. OF Jania Shinhoster UCF Fr. OF Shannon O'Bryan Cam Sr. DP/U Holly Burris Stet Sr.

Preseason MVP: Dottie Cupp, UCF