LOUISVILLE – The Salisbury University softball team, one of the final four teams standing at the end of the 2015 season, is expected to take another step in 2016, sitting at No. 2 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason poll, which was released on Wednesday afternoon.
The Sea Gulls went 37-8 last year, and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the ninth time in program history. Salisbury won two games at the championship weekend before being eliminated by the University of Texas-Tyler, which stands as the preseason No. 1 team, claiming all eight first-place votes.
DePauw University, which the Sea Gulls met and defeated three times last year, including once at the championships, stands at No. 3 in the preseason poll, while East Texas Baptist University and Linfield College round out the top five.
Tufts University, the defending national champion, opens the season at No. 6 in the preseason poll.
Salisbury opens the season with a stiff test on February 20, hosting Virginia Wesleyan College in a doubleheader at the SU Softball Field. The Marlins, who were eliminated by Salisbury in the NCAA Regional last year, enter 2016 ranked No. 14.
The doubleheader marks two of six regular season contests scheduled against teams in the preseason top 25. The Sea Gulls will take on No. 9 Rowan University and No. 18 Emory University on February 28 in the Grand Slam Tournament in North Carolina, and will take on No. 12 Christopher Newport University in a Capital Athletic Conference doubleheader on March 26 in Newport News, Virginia.
To see the poll in its entirety, click here.