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Courtesy: CAA/Brian Ballweg

Hofstra Ranked 20th In USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 01/22/2013
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Hempstead, N.Y. - The Hofstra softball team will start the 2013 season ranked 20th in Division I, according to the USA Today/NFCA Top-25 poll that was released today.

Hofstra, which is coming off a 42-15 season, compiled 203 total points. Defending national champion Alabama was picked first with 765 points and 25 first-place votes. Oklahoma was picked second and racked up five first-place votes while California was third overall and notched one first-place vote.

In the last poll of 2012, Hofstra was picked 16th, marking the highest-ever final ranking for the program. Under head coach Bill Edwards, the Pride enjoyed an unprecedented level of success last season, culminating with a three-game sweep to win the Los Angeles Regional and an appearance in the program's first-ever Super Regional.

Hofstra defeated No. 12 overall seed UCLA on the Bruins' home field and knocked off San Diego State twice to set up a best-of-three Tampa Super Regional against the University of South Florida. The Pride won Game 1 before dropping a pair of one-run games to a Bulls squad that finished ranked 8th in the country and enters 2013 ranked 12th, falling just one win shy of reaching the Women's College World Series.

The Pride captured its ninth Colonial Athletic Association title in 11 seasons after going 22-0 against the league for the first undefeated conference performance in school history. After winning his fifth straight Coach of the Year distinction, Edwards guided the Pride to four NCAA Tournament wins overall to match the 2004 team for the most in one season (the tournament was played under a different format then).

Hofstra returns seven starters from last year's group, including senior pitcher/designated player Olivia Galati and NFCA All-Region selections Tessa Ziemba (senior) and Erin Trippi (sophomore).

Galati won the Division I ERA crown at 0.95. As one of just two pitchers who allowed less than one earned run per seven innings, Galati became Hofstra's first-ever first-team All-America selection after going 34-7 with 378 strikeouts against just 26 walks in 280 2/3 innings. Her 32-game winning streak that stretched from March 17-May 25 finished one off the NCAA record. Ziemba, who batted mostly in the cleanup spot, tied the CAA lead with 11 home runs and her 45 RBIs were seven more than the next-closest teammate.

Hofstra will start the 2013 season on Feb. 15 against Arkansas at 10 a.m. in the first of five games in the Florida State Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla.