Release  Horizon League ·

Jan. 22, 2009

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INDIANAPOLIS --- Cleveland State University has been picked to win the 2009 Horizon League softball championship in balloting by the conference's nine head coaches, the League office announced Thursday (Jan. 22).

The Vikings received the maximum eight first-place votes and 64 points in the preseason poll as coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

Loyola University Chicago placed second in the poll with 51 points, while defending champion Wright State University was close behind with 50 points and the other first-place vote. The University of Illinois at Chicago was fourth with 45 points and Valparaiso University fifth with 39.

Rounding out the poll were the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in sixth (23 points), Butler University in seventh (22), Youngstown State University in eighth (21) and the University of Detroit Mercy in ninth (nine).

Last season Wright State (33-26 in 2008) captured its second consecutive Horizon League championship and third in the last six years with a 2-0 victory over regular-season champion Cleveland State in the tournament title game.

Cleveland State (31-18) has advanced to the championship game four times in the past six years but is looking for its first tournament title since 1997.

Two Horizon League softball teams welcome new head coaches this season. Michelle Venturella takes over at UIC after spending the past six seasons as associate head coach at the University of Iowa, while Brian Campbell moves to Youngstown State from Tiffin University where he compiled a 285-129-1 record in eight years as head coach.

The 2009 Horizon League Softball Championship will be hosted by Butler May 7-9 at Legends Field in Pendleton, Ind.

2009 Horizon League Preseason Coaches Poll

1.Cleveland State (8)642.Loyola513.Wright State (1)504.UIC455.Valparaiso396.Green Bay237.Butler228.Youngstown State219.Detroit  9

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