ATTLEBORO, Mass. - Following a 20-win season and a trip to the New England Collegiate Conference Semifinals, the Newbury Nighthawks have been voted third in the preseason poll as conducted and announced by the NECC.
The Nighthawks finished with 79 points in the voting, including one first-place vote. The Nighthawks return a number of valuable players including 2016 All-NECC Third-Teamers, senior Elizabeth Kia (Kea'au, Hawaii) and sophomore Alexis Vieira (Pawtucket, R.I.), and a 2016 All-NECC Second-Teamer and 2017 Preseason All-American, sophomore Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.).
The Nighthawks also have key returners in the defensive and pitching areas. Senior Lindsey Clark (Venice, Fla.) returns after a season of under 10 errors; a top-15 defensive player in that aspect. While sophomore Alina Milauskas (Elkridge, Md.) returns after recording 17 wins last season; tied for the most in the NECC.
The 2016 NECC Champion, the Becker College Hawks, were voted atop the preseason poll, finishing with 94 points, while gathering seven first-place votes.
The Hawks return many of their starters including the reigning NECC Rookie of the Year shortstop Jennifer Vanalphen. Also returning to the lineup are three All-NECC First Team members, juniors, infielder/pitcher Samantha Lee, infielder Rebecca Carkhuff, and catcher Brianna Herforth.
The Lesley University Lynx finished second in the polls, totaling 86 points with a single first-place vote. The Lynx return nine of their ten starters from a season ago and hope to again compete for the NECC Title.
Finishing fourth in the polls with 69 points was Regis College. The Pride finished fourth last season in NECC play and have 13 returners on their roster. Regis will be working without three All-NECC selections in pitcher Katie Cuozzo, infielder Alyssa McKinnon, and infielder Michaela Nejaime.
The final first place pick went to Elms College as they finish in fifth place with 64 total points. Elms hopes their incoming class can take them back to the NECC Playoffs.
The Mariners secured the sixth position with 52 overall points. Mitchell College will need their veterans to step up, returning just seven players and four starters from the 2016 season.
Seventh in the standings went to Bay Path University (40 points) who will look to continue to challenge in the NECC Tournament.
Closing out the polls in eight was Wheelock College (28 points), in ninth Southern Vermont College (21), and in tenth with 17 points was Daniel Webster College.
NECC teams will begin their seasons with nonconference matchups on Saturday, March 4th. NECC play begins with doubleheaders between four teams on Saturday, March 25th.
Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll
- Becker – 94 (7)
- Lesley – 86 (1)
- Newbury – 79 (1)
- Regis – 69
- Elms – 64 (1)
- Mitchell – 52
- Bay Path – 40
- Wheelock – 28
- Southern Vermont – 21
- Daniel Webster – 17
Portions of this release courtesy the NECC Office