MADISON, S.D. -- Coming off their tenth NAIA National Tournament Appearance in 2019, the Bellevue University softball team is picked to finished second in the North Star Athletic Association Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office on Monday afternoon.
Valley City State received four first place votes and claimed 59 to take top billing. The Vikings edged BU (57) by two points with the Bruins picking up three first place votes.
VCSU and Bellevue met in last season's NSAA Championship Series with the host Vikings winning the series in two games. Both Valley City and BU earned National Tournament berths.
Mayville State picked up the remaining first place vote and totaled 49 points to place third in the poll. Dickinson State came fourth with 43 points followed by Viterbo (28 points) and Waldorf (26 points). Dakota State (17 points) and Presentation (9 points) rounded out the poll.
All NSAA teams will play four games against each of the other seven teams for a total of 28 regular-season games.
The season culminates with the postseason tournament. The tournament runs from Apr. 30-May 3 and will be held in Valley City, N.D. with the winner earning the league's lone automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round.
The NAIA Preseason Coaches' Top 25 Poll comes out Wednesday, Jan. 15
Nationally, the Opening Round will take place at campus sites from May 11-13 with the winners advancing to the Final Site in Columbus, Ga. May 21-27.
In 2019, Bellevue totaled a 44-20 overall record and notched a 23-5 mark in NSAA play. The Bruins earned a runner-up finish in the regular season standings, finishing 3.5 games back of VCSU.
The Bruins begin their 2020 campaign with a double-header at MidAmerica Nazarene University on Friday, Feb. 14 with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.