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Liberty Picked Third in Preseason Poll

January 25, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Lady Flames were picked to finish third in the 2010 Big South Conference preseason poll.

The Lady Flames were picked to finish third in the 2010 Big South Conference preseason poll.

The 2010 Liberty Lady Flames softball team is being predicted to finish in third place in the Big South Conference this season, according to the league's annual preseason poll. The poll is voted on by the conference head coaches.

Liberty, the Big South Championship runner-up in 2008 and 2009, collected a total of 34 points in the poll. The Lady Flames finished the 2009 season with a 26-35 overall record under head coach Paul Wetmore, who will begin his 17th season leading the team this spring.

Liberty returns several key players from last year's squad, including all-conference honorees Kelly Strickland, a sophomore shortstop, and Tiffani Smith, a junior pitcher who will also serve as a team captain this year.

Radford, the 2009 Big South Champion, was predicted to finish first, picking up six first-place votes and earning 48 out of 49 possible points. The Lady Eagles of Winthrop were selected to finish second, collecting 40 points.

Charleston Southern finished fourth in the voting with 25 points, followed by Gardner-Webb in the fifth spot with 23 points. Coastal Carolina and Presbyterian College tied for the sixth spot with 13 points each.

Radford junior shortstop Kristen Shifflett was selected as the Big South Preseason Player of the Year, while teammate Chelsea Kelley was tabbed Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Kelley received five first-place votes and 11 total points, ahead of Smith, who finished second in the voting with six points and one first-place vote.

Liberty opens the 2010 season February 13 with an appearance in the Charlotte Invitational in Charlotte, N.C.

2010 Big South Conference Preseason Softball Poll

1. Radford, 48
2. Winthrop, 40
3. Liberty, 34
4. Charleston Southern, 25
5. Gardner-Webb, 23
6. Presbyterian College, 13
6. Coastal Carolina, 13