University of Delaware Softball Team Picked Fifth in Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll
February 6, 2013
photo courtesy of Mark Campbell
RICHMOND, Va. -- The University of Delaware softball team was picked fifth in the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll announced by the conference on Tuesday.
Hofstra, last year’s regular season and conference tournament champion, received all seven possible first place votes and finished on top of the poll with 47 points. Georgia State and James Madison tied for second place with 40 points, while Towson was picked fourth with 28 points.
The Blue Hens received 25 points to finish fifth in the poll, Drexel and George Mason tied for sixth with 17 points, and UNCW was selected eighth with eight points.
Delaware, which will be led by third-year head coach Jaime Wohlbach, returns 11 letterwinners and welcomes seven newcomers for the 2013 season. The Blue Hens went 15-41-1 overall last year and advanced to the CAA Tournament for the second consecutive year after finishing fourth with an 8-12 league mark.
The Blue Hens will be led by sophomore infielder Jessica Grisler, a CAA All-Rookie Team selection last season who led Delaware with a .305 batting average, 53 hits, 25 runs scored and nine doubles. Junior Michelle McKinnon is also expected to start in the UD infield as she batted .289 last year with 50 hits, 20 runs scored and 18 RBI.
The Blue Hen outfield will again be paced by centerfielder Lara Andrews, who hit .231 a year ago while leading the team with 21 runs batted in. Senior Gina Knutson also looks to start in the outfield as she returns from an ACL injury after hitting .243 with three home runs in 2012.
The Blue Hens will also be bolstered by the return of senior Amanda Stacevicz, who hit .258 with 23 RBI in 2011 as Delaware’s cleanup hitter before missing last year with a shoulder injury. Stacevicz will also return to the UD rotation after winning 11 games and posting a 3.27 earned run average as a junior. Fellow senior Chenxi Jiao, who won eight games and recorded a 3.31 ERA last season, and Hannah Rust, who earned five victories a year ago, also return to the pitching staff.
Delaware opens its 2013 campaign this weekend as the Blue Hens will play five games at the Jimmy John’s Lion Classic hosted by Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond, La. UD will open play at the invitational on Friday by facing the host Lions at 3 p.m. Central and then taking on Southern at 5:30 p.m. Central.
UD opens its home sechedule on Mar. 14-16 when the Blue Hens host the second annual Delaware Spring Invitational at the Delaware Softball Stadium. The Blue Hens begin CAA play on Mar. 23-24 with a three-game series at Drexel before hosting Towson the following weekend on Mar. 30-31.
2013 Colonial Athletic Association Softball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Hofstra - 47 (7)
T2. Georgia State - 40 (1)
T2. James Madison - 40
4. Towson - 28
5. Delaware - 25
T6. Drexel - 17
T6. George Mason - 17
8. UNCW- 8
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