ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Elms College picked to defend their NECC Softball title, as they finish the Preseason Coaches' Poll with 93 points including five of the first place votes.
The Blazers look to their four returning starters, seniors Kierstan Skinnerand Meghan Shewchuk. Skinner, a catcher and short stop, was named to the 2015 NECC All-Tournament Team and was also received All-NECC Honorable Mention honors. Starting at second base Shewchuk earned NECC All-Tournament honors.
Second place ended in a tie as Mitchell College and Becker College both finish with 80 points. The Mariners earned three first place nods after winning the NECC regular season a year ago. Mitchell will be led by the reigning NECC Pitcher of the Year, junior Brittany Fiederlein, while the offense will be paced by the 2015 NECC Rookie of the Year catcher Samantha DelConte. The Hawks will look to their six key returners from last season to excel this season. Senior outfielder Jaclyn Orangio was named the the All-NECC First Team, while her classmates outfielder Jessica Wheelahan and pitcherKelsey Norberg were named to the All-NECC Second Team. Becker has experience on their side with 12 returners from the 2015 season back in the dugout.
Landing in fourth was Lesley University who finished with 74 points. The Lynx have strength returning to the field including the 2015 NECC Player of the Year, junior Mekenzi Golden. Lesley will also look to senior Theresa Pereira and Selena Quezada to play key roles after earning NECC Second team honors a year ago.
Newbury College earned the final first place vote as they finish with 65 points overall. The Nighthawks will look to first year head coach Cassie Moore as well as their nine returning starters to lead them this season. Senior outfielder Sheri Liggiero will look to play a key role as she has earned All-NECC First Team honors her first three seasons with the Nighthawks.
Regis lands in sixth with 48 points, as they look to improve on their 2015 season after finishing with a 7-11 conference record. The Pride return four infielders from last seasons team including seniors Katie Cuozzo, Michaela Nejaime, Allison Caloggero, and Alyssa McKinnon.
Rounding out the polls were Bay Path University 42, Southern Vermont College 38, Daniel Webster College 17, and Wheelock College with 13 points.
Softball begins their season on Friday, March 4th with non conference matchups. Four teams open their NECC schedule on Saturday, March 19th. Regis will head to Newbury for two games, while Daniel Webster travels to Lesley for a doubleheader.
2016 NECC Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll1. Elms – 93 (5)
T2. Mitchell – 80 (3)
T2. Becker – 80 (1)
4. Lesley – 74
5. Newbury – 65 (1) 6. Regis – 48 7. Bay Path – 42
8. Southern Vermont – 38
9. Daniel Webster – 17
10. Wheelock – 13