With the start of the 2018 season just over a week away, the Minnesota Golden Gophers softball team found out on Tuesday that it will begin the year ranked in both national polls. Minnesota is ranked #16 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Poll and #18 in the USA Softball Poll.
The Gophers are the highest ranked Big Ten team in the USA Today poll, with the Michigan Wolverines right behind them at #18. The two teams flip spots in the USA Softball poll with the Wolverines coming in at #16. It’s expected the Gophers and Wolverines will once again fight for the Big Ten Championship this season, but also for the third consecutive year the two teams will not play one another in the regular season. In fact, the Gophers never saw Michigan a year ago after the Wolverines were upset in the Big Ten Tournament.
Minnesota will have the advantage of being the only Big Ten team with a preseason All-American. Sophomore catcher Kendyl Lindaman was given the honor by Fastpitchnews.com Lindaman was named the Big Ten Player of the Year in her freshman campaign a year ago when she hit .426 with 20 home runs and 63 walks to lead the conference.
We will have a more in depth preview of the softball team next week. The Gophers begin play under new coach Jamie Trachsel Friday February 9th at the UNLV SportCo Kickoff Classic with a game against Southern Utah.