Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) softball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) preseason coaches' poll, which was released on Thursday.
The Bulldogs received two first-place votes in the poll, which tabbed defending league regular season and postseason champion Minnesota State University-Mankato as the preseason favorite.
UMD is coming off a 38-win season in 2012, marking the second-most victories in program history. The Bulldogs went (38-22) a year ago and qualified for a third straight NCAA Division II tournament.
Hermanotwn, Minn. native and UMD junior pitcher Megan Mullen was also involved in the preseason honors, being chosen by league coaches as the NSIC preseason pitcher of the year.
Mullen set several program records in the 2012 season, including 33 complete games and 272 strikeouts, en route to landing an all-NSIC second team selection.
UMD starts the 2013 campaign on Feb. 9 in Las Vegas, with the Bulldogs' first home game scheduled for March 26 against St. Cloud State.
Below are the results of the NSIC softball preseason coaches' poll, with a team's respective first-place votes in parentheses.
2013 NSIC SOFTBALL PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
1. MSU-Mankato (9)
2. Augustana (4)
3. Winona State
4. Minnesota-Duluth (2)
5. Concordia-St. Paul (1)
6. Wayne State
7. University of Mary
8. Northern State
9. St. Cloud State
10. Southwest Minnesota State
11. Upper Iowa
12. Minot State
13. Sioux Falls
15. Bemidji State