SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo softball team was selected as one of the best teams in Division II, according to the National Fastpitch College Association’s Preseason Top-25 Poll, it was announced Wednesday.

The Lions, who culminated a very successful 2008 season with a 19th place finish in the final NFCA poll, return four starters from last year’s squad including NFCA All-America Ashley Urbanik and All-Conference selections Ally Maddox and Tatiana Casis.

SLU concluded the previous season with a 37-15 record and advanced further in the NCAA Tournament than any other Lions’ softball team in school history.

In the voting, the Lions racked up 123 total points, three points ahead of No. 17 Georgian Court.

Fellow Sunshine State Conference schools Tampa and Barry also cracked the top 25 as the Spartans earned the 10th spot in the poll with 229 points, while the defending SSC and South Region Champion Buccaneers begin the season 4th, accumulating 333 points.

Lock Haven totaled the most points (388), as they earned the preseasons top spot. Last year’s champion, Humboldt State, is second in the poll with 374 points, while St. Edward’s is third with 358. Francis Marion rounds out the top five, compiling 332 votes.

The NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll is voted on by 16 NCAA Division II head coaches, two representing each of the eight NCAA regions.

The Lions take to the field for the first time in 2009 on February 5 in San Antonio, TX. Saint Leo will do battle with Cameron University at 1:00 pm EST and Tarleton State at 5:00 pm EST with both games being broadcast live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.

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