Jan. 22, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The University of Michigan softball team will begin its season ranked No. 15 in the country in the USA Today/NFCA poll, the same spot U-M finished when play ended last year.
The poll was released today (Tuesday, Jan. 22) with defending Big Ten champion Michigan the only team from the conference to crack the top 25.
Reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year Carol Hutchins begins her 29th season at the helm and is joined by long-time assistants Bonnie Tholl (20th year) and Jennifer Brundage (15th season). Former All-American Nikki Nemitz begins her second season as a volunteer assistant. Michigan went 42-17 in 2012 and won the Big Ten championship for a fifth consecutive year.
Michigan returns 14 letterwinners and welcomes in seven newcomers. Leading the way in 2013 will be sophomore pitchers Haylie Wagner (Orange, Calif./El Modena) and Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville), who each earned All-Big Ten first team honors in their freshman campaigns, along with senior infielders Amy Knapp (St. Joseph, Mich./Lakeshore) and Ashley Lane (Escondido, Calif./Escondido), who earned NFCA All-America honors in 2011.
The Maize and Blue has nine games on the slate against preseason top 25 teams: Arizona State (No. 4), Oregon (No. 5), LSU (No. 10) Louisiana-Lafayette (No. 11), USF (No. 12), Arizona (No. 13), Washington (No. 16), Texas A&M (No. 17) and Louisville (No. 18).
The Wolverines kick off the 2013 against Marshall, Florida Atlantic, No. 12 USF and Samford at the University of South Florida Tournament Feb. 8-10 in Tampa, Fla.
Contact: Michael Kasiborski (734) 763-4423