University of Delaware Softball Team Picked Fifth in Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll
February 8, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. –The University of Delaware softball team was picked fifth in the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll announced by the conference on Wednesday.
Hofstra, last year’s regular season conference champion, and Georgia State, the league tournament champion, each tied for the top spot with 46 points and four first place votes. Towson was selected third with 36 points, while James Madison was picked fourth with 30 points.
The Blue Hens received 26 points to finish fifth in the poll, followed by Drexel (17), George Mason (16) and UNCW (7).
Delaware, which will be led by second-year head coach Jaime Wohlbach, returns nine letterwinners and welcomes nine newcomers for the 2012 season. The Blue Hens went 21-34 overall last year and advanced to the CAA Tournament after finishing fourth with a 10-11 league mark.
UD will be led by junior centerfielder Lara Andrews, the team’s Most Valuable Player last season when she batted .298 with 42 hits, 19 RBI and six doubles. Junior catcher Gina Knutson and sophomore second baseman Michelle McKinnon, who each earned second team All-CAA honors a year ago, also return for the Blue Hens. Knutson drilled nine home runs in 2011, the second most in a UD single season, and also led Delaware with 31 RBI on the season. McKinnon, a CAA All-Rookie Team selection, led the Blue Hens with a .322 batting average and ranked second with 46 hits during her freshman campaign.
Sophomore lefthander Kathleen Conway, who went 6-10 with a 5.39 ERA last season, will anchor the Blue Hen pitching staff. Junior Chenxi Jiao, a transfer from Highland (Kan.) Community College, and freshman Brianna Jennings will also see plenty of time in the circle for Delaware.
Delaware opens its 2012 campaign on Saturday when the Blue Hens take Charlotte at 11:30 a.m. and Presbyterian at 3:30 p.m. in Charlotte, N.C, and will again face the host 49ers Sunday at 11 a.m. UD takes on Temple on March 14 in its home opener, and hosts the first annual Delaware Spring Invitational on March 16-18 at the Delaware Softball Diamond. The Blue Hens open CAA play on March 24-25 with a three-game series at Towson before hosting George Mason the following weekend on March 31-April 1.
2012 Colonial Athletic Association Softball Preseason Coaches Poll
T1. Georgia State - 46 (4)
T1. Hofstra - 46 (4)
3. Towson - 36
4. James Madison - 30
5. Delaware - 26
6. Drexel - 17
7. George Mason - 16
8. UNCW- 7