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Softball picked fifth in preseason poll

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 03:01


With the season's first pitch 17 days away, the USF softball team may already have a chip on its shoulder.

The Big East announced the results of its preseason coaches poll Monday, with the Bulls picked to finish

fifth in the 13-team league. DePaul, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville were all chosen to finish above the

Bulls this season. USF finished fourth in the league last season but held a share of the lead well into the final month of the regular season.

DePaul was named as the preseason favorite, despite actually having less first-place votes (3) than runner-up

Syracuse (4). The Fighting Irish picked up three votes, Louisville another two and USF earned the last vote. It marks the first time since 2006, when the league adopted its current membership, that five teams have received a first-place vote.

The Bulls open their season Feb. 10 against Maine and begin Big East play March 24, with a home series against Rutgers.

JU hires Collier

One of the most accomplished players in USF volleyball history is now a Division I head coach.

Michelle Collier, who played for USF from 1998 to 2002, was named the eighth head coach at Jacksonville University on Monday.

Collier is still USF's all-time leader in kills (2,729) and digs (1,747) and is second in service aces (257). Collier's kill tally is fifth-best in NCAA history and, in 2004, she was named Conference USA "Player of the Decade."

She served on USF's coaching staff from 2008-09 before departing for a two-year stint as an assistant coach at South Carolina.

"I am looking forward to working with a great group of girls and turning this program around and winning some championships," Collier said to "I am meeting the girls Monday and am excited to meet with them, talk to them and get them fired up for us to get ready."

Navy to join Big East?

Reports surfaced Monday that the United States Naval Academy is prepared to announce it will join the Big East as a football-only member in 2015.

The Big East recently finished a realignment following the loss of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference, as well as West Virginia and future-member Texas Christian to the Big 12.

In response, the Big East added Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members, as well as Houston, Southern Methodist and Central Florida in all sports. All three service academies — Army, Navy and Air Force — were rumored to be considering moves to the conference, but none originally materialized.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto has repeatedly stated his desire to have 12 football teams in the conference, which would allow it to start a championship game — potentially played at Yankee Stadium in New York City.

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