Softball team receives votes, coach not bothered by lack of attention

After winning 27 of its last 35 games and starting its inaugural season in the Big East with an 8-0 conference record, the USF softball team has made it onto a national poll for the first time this season.

While the Bulls (38-19, 8-0 Big East) did not break into the Top 25, they did receive 14 first-place votes, giving them the second largest amount among non-ranked teams, according to the National Fastpitch Coach’s Association.

Coach Ken Eriksen is pleased his team is finally receiving recognition this season, but not surprised it took so long for the Bulls to get some attention.

“For some reason we’re not a very popular team with the voters early in the year,” Eriksen said. “Even after coming off a 60-win season (in 2004) and a 54-win season (in 2003), for some reason we always start off the next year under the radar screen; but finally the girls are getting recognized for the ball we’ve been playing.”

While Eriksen doesn’t have a theory as to why USF is consistently overlooked early in the year, the 10th-year coach said he actually prefers it that way.

“That’s OK,” Eriksen said. “I’d rather be in the position sometimes where you’re going after people.”

As USF gets ready for a pair of conference doubleheaders this weekend against Pittsburgh and Syracuse, Eriksen said it doesn’t bother him if the Bulls don’t make the polls early in the year, because his team usually makes a name for itself by the end of the season.

“(Your ranking) doesn’t really matter at the beginning of the year,” Eriksen said. “It only matters where you are at the end, and maybe USF isn’t the prettiest girl on the block at the beginning of the season, but we sure go to the prom every year.”