By Staff and Wire Reports
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Jan. 16, 2002
The Arizona softball team will begin this season right where they finished last year - at the top.
A poll of Pacific 10 Conference coaches released yesterday picked the defending national champs to finish first in the conference. Arizona was named last year's preseason No. 1 as well.
The Wildcats received 46 points and four first-place votes to share the top spot with UCLA, which UA defeated 1-0 in last year's National Championship game. The title was Arizona's sixth under head coach Mike Candrea.
Arizona posted a 65-4 record last season, including a 19-2 Pac-10 record.
The Wildcats return a pair of first-team All-Americans in senior pitcher Jennie Finch and sophomore first baseman Leneah Manuma.
Finch led the nation last year in ERA at 0.36 while posting a perfect 32-0 record to break the NCAA record for wins in a season without a defeat. Finch hasn't lost in her last 40 games dating back to 2000.
Manuma hit 19 home runs and had 61 RBI in her first season as a Wildcat.
The Wildcats begin their season with an exhibition double-header against Sonoma State Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium.