For the third straight season the University of Minnesota starts the season ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Division 1 Preseason Top-25 poll coming in at No. 16.
The Gophers are also ranked in the USA Softball Top-25 with a No. 14 ranking. Last season the Maroon and Gold finished with a No. 20 ranking in the NFCA poll and a No. 19 ranking in the USA Softball poll.
Minnesota finished with a 43-14 overall record and their second B1G Tournament championship in three years. They fell in the Seattle Regional to Washington after their program record fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Gophers return nine players from last year and bring in nine newcomers. They have six games scheduled against teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Top-25 poll and another 10 against teams that are receiving votes.
Minnesota opens the regular season today at a weekend tournament at the University of Texas. In all, the Gophers will play five games in the tourney over the next two days against Texas, Maryland, and Colorado State. MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm talks with the team’s star pitcher and hitter Sara Groenewegen of White Rock, British Columbia: