INDIANOLA, Iowa - The Simpson softball team picked up 42 points and received one first-place vote to tie for third in the Iowa Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.
The league's coaches selected defending IIAC Tournament Champion, Luther as the team to beat in 2015, followed closely by Central. Simpson and Coe tied for the third spot.
The Storm and 20-year head coach Henry Christowski return a strong nucleus of talent from last season's squad. Simpson brings back six of its top seven hitters and both starting pitchers. First Team all-IIAC performers Abbie VanVleet (P) and Tori Haag (C) headline a group that features four players who have received all-league honors at one time in their career.
Simpson's season-opener is set for this Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Finlandia Dome Tournament at the Superior Dome in Marquette, Mich. The Storm will play four games that day, against Wis.-Superior, Edgewood, Lakeland and Concordia (Wis.). Simpson closes play Sunday against Carroll (Wis.) and Wis.-Oshkosh.
IIAC PRESEASON COACHES' POLL (first place votes)
1. Luther, 52 (3); 2. Central, 50 (4); t-3. Simpson, 42 (1); t-3. Coe, 42; 5. Dubuque, 33; 6. Buena Vista, 26; 7. Loras, 19; 8. Wartburg, 16.
The 2015 Iowa Conference softball schedule gets underway Tuesday, March 31 as all eight schools take to the diamond to open their 14-game league slates. Schools will play a doubleheader against each Iowa Conference opponent.
The 2015 Iowa Conference Softball Tournament will be held May 1-2 and will be hosted by the tournament's top seed. The top two seeds from the regular season will receive first-round byes and the tournament schedule - which is scheduled as a single-elimination affair this season - will feature two games on Friday and three games on Saturday.
NFCA PRESEASON POLLS
The Iowa Conference is well represented in the NFCA Division III preseason poll. Central is tied for 12th, Luther is 18th and Coe and Simpson are receiving votes. In the first regular-season poll released earlier today, Central and Luther maintained their positions and Simpson continued to receive votes.