The national media and coaches aren’t quite sure what to make of the 2022 Arizona Wildcats. They know the young team will be good. The question is how good? The league’s coaches think Caitlin Lowe’s first team will be good enough to finish third in the Pac-12.
The league released its preseason poll on Thursday. The Wildcats were picked behind UCLA and Washington. Arizona tied with Oregon for third in total points with 45 each, but the ‘Cats picked up one first-place vote.
The Bruins received seven of the nine available first-place votes. Washington picked up one and Arizona took the other one. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.
After the Wildcats and Ducks at No. 3, Arizona State checks in at fifth. The Sun Devils are followed by Stanford, Oregon State, California, and Utah to round out the nine Pac-12 teams that offer softball.
On the national level, Arizona was picked No. 7 by Softball America. The other three polls placed them No. 9 (USA Today/NFCA), No. 11 (ESPN/USA Softball), and No. 15 (D1 Softball).
Several organizations have also released their contenders for All-America honors and softball player of the year watch lists. Redshirt sophomores Janelle Meoño and Sharlize Palacios popped up on multiple lists. The pair were on USA Softball’s Player of the Year Top 50 watch list.
The two were also ranked among the top 100 college players by Extra Inning Softball. Meoño came in at No. 44 and Palacious at No. 55.
The team starts play against Southern Utah on Feb. 10 before kicking off the Candrea Classic on Feb. 11. The tournament features another game against SUU before showdowns against No. 2 Alabama and New Mexico on Saturday and Sunday.