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Little East announces preseason softball coaches’ poll

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Little East Conference announced the 2009 preseason softball coaches' poll Thursday, and Plymouth State University was picked to finish fifth in the balloting of the league's eight head coaches.

            The LEC boasts one of the top softball conferences in the nation, with three schools advancing to the NCAA Tournament last season and two others earning ECAC New England Tournament berths.

            Eastern Connecticut State University, last year's regular season co-champion, topped this year's preseason poll with five first-place votes and 61 points, while Rhode Island College, three-time defending tournament winner and regular season co-champions last spring, got the other three top votes and 59 points.  Western Connecticut State University, which joined Eastern Conn. as at-large representatives in the NCAA Tournament last season, was third in this year's poll with 40 points.

            Granite State rivals Keene State College and Plymouth State, which both advanced to the ECAC Tournament in 2008, were picked fourth and fifth in this year's balloting.  The University of Southern Maine and the Universities of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Boston rounded out the poll.

            The top six teams in the regular season will advance to the annual LEC double-elimination tournament, beginning Thursday, Apr. 30.  The LEC Tournament Champion will earn the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Tournament.

          The complete Little East softball preseason poll results are listed below: 

2009 LEC Softball Pre-Season Poll

1.           Eastern Connecticut (5)        61

2.           Rhode Island College (3)       59

3.           Western Connecticut            46

4.           Keene State                           41

5.           Plymouth State                    31

6.           Southern Maine                     22

7.           UMass Dartmouth                 15

8.           UMass Boston                       13 

  (first-place votes in parentheses) 

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