Rhode Island College picked as preseason favorite
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—The Rhode Island College
softball team will begin the 2007 season in a familiar position,
atop the Little East Conference standings. The Anchorwomen earned
the top spot in the annual coaches’ preseason poll with 48
points, including six first-place sections. Keene State College was
just four points off the pace, registering the remaining two
All eight of the Little East Conference coaches cast a ballot, but they were not allowed to vote for their own team. A first-place vote received seven points, while a second place vote earned six points.
Under the direction of Head Coach Maria Morin, Rhode Island College has sat atop the Little East Conference regular season standings the past two seasons, while capturing the 2006 Little East Conference Tournament and earning the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III New England Regional Softball Championships. The 2006 Anchorwomen posted an overall record of 35-8-1, including an 11-2-1 mark in the conference circuit. Rhode Island College advanced to the NCAA Division III New England Regional for the first time in the program’s history, winning its first two contests before torrential rains cancelled the remainder of the tournament. Morin, a three-time Little East Conference Coach of the Year, welcomes back five upperclassmen from last season, including a pair of All-New England first team selections. The Anchorwomen will open the 2007 slate at the Rebel Games in Kissimmee, Fla.
Just four points behind Rhode Island College, Keene State College received 44 points and two first place ballots. Last season, the Owls finished in a tie for third place with an overall record of 26-14, including a 9-5 mark in conference action. Under the watchful eye of Head Coach Dr. Charlie Beach, Keene State registered its 14th season with 20 or more victories in the past 16 campaigns. The Owls return 10 upperclassmen from last season’s squad, headlined by All-Conference first team junior catcher Melissa Scata (Medway, Mass.). Keene State will face its first six oppositions in Fort Myers, Fla.
For the second straight season, Western Connecticut is third in the preseason poll after recording 36 points. A year ago, the Colonials turned in an overall record of 28-18 and a 9-5 mark in the Little East Conference. First-year Head Coach Heather Stone will take over a club that tied for third place with Keene State in the conference circuit and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, where Western Connecticut bowed out to Union (N.Y.). The Colonials welcome back 10 upperclassmen, including a trio of All-Conference first team selections.
Eastern Connecticut and Southern Maine are separated by just three points for the fourth and fifth position, respectively. The Warriors earned the fourth spot with 27 points, while the Huskies tallied 24 points. Last season, Eastern Connecticut was second in the conference standings with an 11-3 record, while the Huskies finished in fifth with an 8-5 mark.
The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (19), Plymouth State University (17), and the University of Massachusetts-Boston (7) round out the final three spots in the 2007 Coaches’ Softball Preseason Poll.