Jackets Picked Fifth in ACC Preseason Coaches Poll

Jan. 23, 2007

ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech softball team was tabbed fifth in the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Softball Poll, selected by the league’s eight coaches and announced by the league office on Tuesday. NC State was picked as the preseason favorite, tallying seven first place votes.

Florida State was picked second in the poll with 53 points, followed by Virginia Tech (45), North Carolina (40), Georgia Tech (32), Maryland (31), Virginia (17) and Boston College (8).

The Yellow Jackets finished fourth last season with an ACC record of 12-9. Tech returns 12 letterwinners, including ACC Rookie of the Years Whitney Haller (2006) and Aileen Morales (2005), and senior All-ACC outfielder Caitlin Lever. The Jackets also return NFCA All-Southeast Region second team catcher Savannah Brown.

Haller, a native of Marietta, Ga., broke seven ACC single-season records last year, including home runs (24), RBI (72), total bases (171), slugging percentage (.799) and saves (6). She finished second in the nation in saves, third in home runs, fourth in RBI, eighth in runs scored (63) and 10th in slugging percentage.

Lever, a native of Amherst, N.Y., had her most impressive season as a Yellow Jacket last year, hitting .352, with 10 home runs, 39 RBI and tallied 15 stolen bases in 17 attempts. She was named to the All-ACC team for the second consecutive season.

Brown, a native of San Diego, Calif., ranked second on the Tech squad with 11 home runs last year, finishing with a .295 average en route to being named to the all-region team. She drove in 47 runs for the Rambling Wreck and scored 45 times.

Morales, an All-ACC and All-Southeast selection two years ago, hit .247, with 55 runs scored and led Tech with 30 stolen bases. She ranks second all-time at Tech in career stolen bases with 74, needing just 36 more to pass former All-American Laura Williams (110/1994-97).

In the circle, the Jackets return all four pitchers from a season ago in Whitney Haller, Whitney Humphreys, Lacey Richardson and Sarah Wood. Wood and Humphreys should throw a bulk of the innings, each finishing 2006 with an earned run average of 2.87. Wood, a native of Marietta, Ga., finished sixth in the ACC with 20 wins, while Humphreys, a native of Sandy Spring, W. Va., went 18-7.

Two newcomers are expected to make a big difference for the Yellow Jackets. Sophomores Jennifer Yee and Tiffany Johnson were both named Rookie of the Year in the MAAC and MEAC conferences, respectively.

Yee, a transfer from Niagara University, finished third in the nation last year with a .466 batting average. Johnson, a transfer from Florida A&M, led the Lady Rattlers to the NCAA Tournament with a .307 batting average and a record of 15-6 in the circle.

2007 ACC PRESEASON COACHES POLLSCHOOL  POINTS  2006 RECORD1. NC State (7) 62      50-21, 14-6 ACC2. Florida State        53      44-30, 10-10 ACC3. Virginia Tech        45      39-21, 12-8 ACC4. North Carolina (1)   40      48-19, 13-7 ACC5. Georgia Tech      32      48-22, 12-9 ACC6. Maryland     31      32-27, 7-13 ACC7. Virginia     17      29-26, 7-13 ACC8. Boston College       8       22-26, 6-15 ACC

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