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Arizona softball: Wildcats selected third in Pac-12 Preseason poll

Arizona Softball starting the season with high expectations

Gabe Encinas

We're just a few weeks out from the season opener for Arizona Softball, and in the Pac-12 Preseason poll, the Arizona Wildcats were selected third with 49 votes, just two votes shy of UCLA in second place. Arizona also landed two top 15 preseason rankings, ranked 13th by the NFCA and 15th according to USA Softball.

Team Votes
1. Oregon 64
2. UCLA 51
3. Arizona 49
4. Washington 42
5. Utah 36
6. California 32
7. Arizona State 27
8. Oregon State 15
9. Stanford 8

In Mike Candrea's preseason press conference, he said that pitching will be the strength of this team, with many viable options in the circle led by two-year contributor Michelle Floyd. SDSU transfer Danielle O'Toole and freshman Taylor McQuillin are two new left-handed pitchers that Candrea will be utilizing this season as well. Redshirt junior Nancy Bowling will also find herself in the mix.

This roster is lined with speed and Candrea cited Mandie Perez as the lead-off hitter, utilizing her small strike zone and speed.

"Our speed is getting better," Candrea explained. "I love playing this game with speed. There's a lot you can do with it. This year, we're going to be able to put some people in action and spread some defenses out."

Depth has been the concern for this team in the past, but Candrea believes that won't be an issue this season. This team is as deep and fast as it's been in the last five or six years, Candrea said, with quality depth down the entire roster.

Arizona will be hosting the Hillenbrand Invitational from February 11-14th, with the girls opening up against Southern Utah on February 11th at 6pm.