JMU softball enters season ranked in top 25

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison softball will open its 2019 season ranked No. 23 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I Top-25 Poll and No. 22 in the Softball Collegiate Top-25 Poll, as announced on Tuesday.

The USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll selected the reigning NCAA National Champion Florida State as the preseason favorite while the Softball Collegiate Top-25 Preseason Poll placed UCLA as the No. 1 team in the nation.

The Dukes are the lone Colonial Athletic Association program ranked in the Top-25 national preseason polls as the Hofstra Pride received votes in both polls.

James Madison will open its season in the St. Pete Clearwater Elite Invitational on Feb. 15-17, playing Cal (receiving votes), Oregon (25/rv), Florida Atlantic, Tennessee (8/8) and Kentucky (13/15). The Dukes will face eight other teams throughout the season that are ranked or receiving votes in either polls.

In Loren LaPorte’s first season as head coach, the Dukes finished the 2018 campaign with a 19-2 record in CAA action and an overall record of 43-14 after making an appearance in the NCAA Knoxville Regional.

The Dukes were also slotted at No. 19 in the D1 Softball News Preseason Poll and No. 20 in the Fastpitch News Preseason Poll.