2008 NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Champions Earn Preseason Recognition

*2009 NFCA Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll Release* PDF

Krystle Bailey
Senior catcher Krystle Bailey and the Bulldogs were picked sixth in the 2009 NFCA Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll. (Photo by Sandy Gholston)

The Ferris State University softball team will begin the upcoming 2009 season ranked among the nation's best as the Bulldogs were selected sixth in the 2009 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll. The national preseason poll was released Wednesday (Jan. 28) by the NFCA.

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.

Ferris State earned 331 points in the poll and was one point behind fifth-place Francis Marion (S.C.), whom the Bulldogs tied for fifth-place honors in the final 2008 NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll. Lock Haven (Pa.) received top billing with 388 points and six first-place votes while 2008 national champion Humboldt State (Calif.) totaled 374 points to go with 10 first-place votes. Rounding out the top five were St. Edward's (Texas) with a third-place 358 points and Barry (Fla.) was chosen fourth with 333 points.

Besides Ferris State, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) was represented by Saginaw Valley State and Wayne State as the Cardinals (35 points) and Warriors (21 points) were listed among others receiving votes.

The Bulldogs, under the direction of 12th-year head coach and 2008 GLIAC Coach of the Year Keri Becker, concluded the 2008 season with a 35-18 overall record and a first-place tying 16-4 GLIAC mark. Ferris State captured the 2008 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament title in the program's fifth regional tourney appearance and then placed tied for fifth at the NCAA-II Softball Championships in its third such appearance on the national stage.

Ferris State's 35 victories in the 2008 campaign represented the program's highest single-season wins total since 1999 when the Bulldogs compiled a school-record 46-18 overall record. To date, FSU has won at least 30 games in a season eight times in the program's 36-year history.

Prior to last season, Ferris State was listed 25th in the NFCA Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll with nine points.

This season, the Bulldogs return 11 letterwinners from a year ago which includes six all-conference performers. Headlining the list of returnees are seniors Amanda Jager (Kalamazoo/Comstock), Sarah Mueller (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia), Holly Bruntjens (Gladstone), and Krystle Bailey (Wyoming/Rogers) along with junior Amanda Harrington (St. Joseph/Stevensville-Lakeshore) and sophomore Lynsay Weaver (Bay City/All Saints). Jager and Mueller both attained second-team all-region accolades and first-team all-league laurels. Bruntjens was honored as the 2008 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

Ferris State begins the 2009 campaign Feb. 28-March 1 at the Kentucky Wesleyan Great Lakes Challenge in Owensboro, Ky. The Bulldogs open at home on March 29, hosting Grand Valley State in a conference doubleheader at the FSU Varsity Softball Field in Big Rapids, Mich. The first game of the league-opening twinbill is scheduled for a noon (EDT) start.

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