A University of Hawaii softball team looking for a bounce-back season placed fifth in the Big West preseason coaches poll released on Tuesday.
After finishing near the back of the pack in 2014, the Rainbow Wahine landed in the middle of the poll with 31 points in voting of the league’s eight coaches.
Defending champion Long Beach State topped the poll with four first-place votes and 59 points. Cal State Fullerton followed with three first-place votes and 56 points. Cal Poly placed third with one coach picking the Mustangs to win the league title.
UC Santa Barbara was fourth, followed by Hawaii, CSUN, UC Davis and UC Riverside.
The Rainbow Wahine went 22-28 overall last season and 7-14 in Big West play to finish seventh in the league in the program’s first sub-.500 season since 2004 and just the third in Bob Coolen’s 23-year tenure as head coach.
UH opens the season Feb. 5 against St. Mary’s in the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic. The Wahine will also face No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 25 DePaul in the three-day tournament.
2015 Big West Softball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Long Beach State (4) 59
2. CS Fullerton (3) 56
3. Cal Poly (1) 50
4. UC Santa Barbara 40
5. Hawaii 31
6. CSUN 24
7. UC Davis 17
8. UC Riverside 11
() First-place votes