Jan. 30, 2006
IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa softball team is ranked in two pre-season polls to start the 2006 season. The Hawkeyes are ranked 19th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and 24th in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll.
Iowa returns seven starters and 11 letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished with a 50-14 record and advanced to both the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Region V championship game.
The Big Ten has three schools in pre-season rankings. Michigan is the top-ranked team in both polls while Northwestern is ranked 15th/16th.
Six of Iowa’s opponents are ranked, including four pre-conference opponents. The Hawkeyes open the 2006 season versus Georgia (10th/11th) at the Diamond Fun and Sun Classic in Miami, FL on February 10. Iowa will face two ranked foes at the NFCA Leadoff Classic on February 24-26 in Columbus, GA. The Hawkeyes are scheduled to face Tennessee (3rd/3rd), who advanced to the College World Series in 2005, and Louisiana-Lafayette (21st/18th). Iowa is scheduled to play California (7th/8th) at the National Invitational Softball Tournament in Sacramento, CA on March 18. Additionally, Iowa will face Arizona State, Florida State and North Carolina, all of which are receiving votes in both polls.
The Hawkeyes will face Northwestern April 2 in a doubleheader in Evanston, IL. Michigan will play the Hawkeyes in Iowa City April 14 and 15.