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January 29, 2008

Eagles picked to finish fourth in GLVC

2008 Season Outlook
2008 Schedule
GLVC Preseason Poll Release

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana softball team has been picked to finish fourth in the GLVC in 2008 in a vote by the league's head coaches.

USI, which collected 131 total points in the poll, is preparing for its February 15 season-opener against Arkansas Tech University in the Gulf South/Mid-West Crossover in Tunica, Mississippi. The Screaming Eagles have 19 games scheduled against teams that were in the NCAA II Tournament a year ago. They also have nine games scheduled against teams from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

In 2008, the Eagles return five All-GLVC performers, including senior third baseman/pitcher Kristin Eickholt (Van Wert, Ohio) and junior shortstop Ally McKinley (Sullivan, Indiana). Eickholt, who won nine games in the pitcher's circle a year ago, hit .313 with seven home runs and 39 RBIs last season. McKinley hit .326 with 18 doubles, seven home runs, and a team-high 45 RBIs.

Senior outfielder/pitcher Kathy Wood (Lynnville, Indiana) and junior outfielder Lacey Ligmanowski (Homer Glenn, Illinois) also garnered All-GLVC honors last year. Wood, who missed part of the season with a torn ACL, led USI with a .362 batting average, 10 stolen bases, and 13 sacrifices in 2007. Ligmanowski, one of the league's most powerful lead-off hitters, hit .322 with 10 doubles, four home runs, and 23 RBIs last season.

The Eagles will rely on the right arm of senior pitcher Amy Harrison (Graceville, Florida), who earned All-Conference honors after recording 18 wins and a .242 ERA. They also will look forward to the return of junior hurler Stephanie Schneider (Birdseye, Indiana), who was 3-2 with a team-best 1.01 ERA before an injury ended her season prematurely.

As a team, the Eagles finished 2007 with a 31-24-1 overall record, 13-10-1 in the GLVC. They were fifth in the GLVC regular season standings before finishing fourth in the league tournament.

Under the direction of seventh-year Head Coach Sue Kunkle, who needs just 21 wins to become the program's all-time winningest coach, the Eagles have a plethora of returning talent and leadership in addition to some key additions that include freshman first baseman Brittany DeWeese (Evansville, Indiana) and sophomore catcher Sara Loete (Pekin, Illinois).

DeWeese was a first-team All-State selection as a senior at Memorial High School last season after hitting .421 with five doubles, two triples, 23 RBIs, and a city-high seven home runs. Loete, who transferred from Bradley University, was a four-time first-team All-Conference selection at Pekin High School.

Defending national champion Southern Illinois University Edwardsville was tabbed by the coaches to finish first in the league, while Lewis University and Missouri University of Science and Technology were picked to finish second and third, respectively.

Quincy University rounded out the top five in the poll, while the University of Wisconsin-Parkside was picked sixth. Northern Kentucky University and Saint Joseph's College tied for seventh in the poll, while the University of Indianapolis and the University of Missouri-St. Louis rounded out the top 10.

Kentucky Wesleyan College and Bellarmine University were slated for 11th and 12th-place finishes, respectively, while Drury University and Rockhurst University rounded out the poll. Drury is in the first year of its program and is under the direction of former USI Assistant Coach Annie Medico.

2008 GLVC Poll

Team (1st-Place Votes)-Total Points
1. SIU Edwardsville (12)-168
2. Lewis (2)-157
3. Missouri S&T-140
4. Southern Indiana-131
5. Qu

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