COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Softball coaches around the Ohio
Valley Conference know that Tennessee Tech's Tory Acheson finds
ways to win, but this year they might be expecting the veteran
coach to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
Despite a roster that lists only one senior and includes 10 freshmen, Acheson's Golden Eagles are projected for a second place finish in the 2009 OVC race. Tech received one first place vote out of the nine that were cast in the annual preseason poll of conference coaches. The Golden Eagles received 52 points in the poll, placing them second behind Jacksonville State, which had eight first place votes and 64 points.
Morehead State received 48 points for third place, followed by Eastern Kentucky (46), Eastern Illinois (37), UT Martin (29), Southeast Missouri (23), Tennessee State (14) and Austin Peay (10).
"Over the last several years we've earned a certain level of respect, and I think that might have a lot to do with the way we're picked in the preseason vote," Acheson said. "Even though the coaches know we'll have a lot of new faces, they expect those new players to be pretty talented.
"We're certainly expecting big things," Acheson continued. "We're young, but we're not approaching our business any different. We're trying to win the OVC this year, like we would any other year."
After battling through the regular season last spring to a sixth place finish in the conference, the Golden Eagles put together a winning streak during the OVC Tournament and reached the championship game before being eliminated by host JSU.
Tech opens the 2009 regular season Feb. 6-8 at the UT Chattanooga Tournament, where the Golden Eagles will face Campbell, Troy, Virginia Tech, Maine and Chattanooga.
2009 OVC SOFTBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
(as voted on by the league's head softball coaches)
1. Jacksonville State (8 first-place votes) 64
2. Tennessee Tech (1 first-place vote) 52
3. Morehead State 48
4. Eastern Kentucky 46
5. Eastern Illinois 37
6. UT Martin 29
7. Southeast Missouri 23
8. Tennessee State 14
9. Austin Peay 10
(Teams awarded 8 points for a first-place vote, 7 for second, etc.)