Tennessee softball finishes No. 15 in both major preseason polls

The two major national softball polls were released on Wednesday, and Tennessee was placed at No. 15 in both of them.

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KNOXVILLE,TN - APRIL 05, 2016 - Infielder/Outfielder Aubrey Leach #10 during the game between the Kennesaw State Owls and the Tennessee Volunteers at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics.

Softball season is just around the corner, and the Vols placed highly in a pair of preseason rankings. Both of the major national softball polls, the USA Today/NFCA Division I Coaches’ Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25, had Tennessee ranked as the No. 15 team in the country.

The Vols were one of nine schools in the SEC that were ranked in both preseason polls, with five of their fellow conference teams finishing above them in each set of rankings. Earlier in the month, the SEC coaches picked Tennessee to finish at No. 5 in the conference in their annual preseason poll.

Oklahoma is the unanimous preseason favorite in both polls after returning seven starters from a team that won the national championship last year.

Tennessee softball finished with a 43-16 record last year and made its 13th consecutive appearance in an NCAA regional. Seven of last year’s top 10 hitters return to the team this season, including All-SEC first-teamer Meghan Gregg and a trio of women that were named to last year’s All-Freshmen team.

The 2017 season is slated to begin on Feb. 10 with a doubleheader against Tennessee Tech and Middle Tennessee. The home schedule opens on March 2 with a doubleheader against Southeastern Louisiana and Ohio.

Edited by David Bradford

Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

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