INDIANAPOLIS --For the second year in a row, the Horizon League softball preseason poll remained tight as Wright State claimed the top spot and will enter the upcoming season as the conference favorite. The Raiders collected just one of the eight first-place votes, receiving 40 total points in voting of the League’s coaches.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the poll.
The Raiders earned the No. 2 seed in last year’s Championship and ended the regular season with an 11-5 conference record. The team returns All-League First Team member Jess Gorman to the squad for her senior campaign and All-Freshman honorees Becka Peterson and Libby Pfeffer. This season will mark head coach Lynn Curylo’s fifth year at the helm.
Last year’s regular season and tournament champion, Green Bay, took second-place in the poll with 38 points and three first-place votes. The Phoenix captured their first-ever Horizon League titles and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014. Green Bay returns First-Team All-League selection pitcher Briana Cavin as well as All-Freshman team members Heather Sanderson, Katelyn Huemmer and Allie Taylor. Head coach Beth Spoehr took over the Phoenix program and enters her inaugural season.
Valparaiso was close behind to take third in the poll with 37 points and two first-place votes. The Crusaders welcome Kate Stake as the new head coach of the team and bring back three Horizon League postseason award recipients in addition to nine incoming freshman.
Youngstown State grabbed the final two first-place votes and earned 31 points in the poll. Horizon League Freshman of the Year and Second-Team honoree, Sarah Dowd, will take the field in her second season for the Penguins joined by First-Team pick Miranda Castiglione.
Cleveland State took fifth place in the voting with 29 points narrowly edging out UIC in sixth totalling 27. The Vikings have senior infielder Cynthia Woodard back who earned First-Team accolades last year. The Flames will have Second-Team All-League honoree Paige Peterson returning for her final season.
Oakland was voted to take seventh-place in the poll with 15 points while Detroit rounded out the standings in the voting.
The regular season gets underway on Friday, February 6 with conference play beginning Friday, March 20. The Horizon League Championship will be held May 6-9, at the site of the regular-season champion.
2015 Softball Preseason poll
Rank - School - Points (1st)
1. Wright State - 40 (1)
2. Green Bay - 38 (3)
3. Valparaiso - 37 (2)
4. Youngstown State - 31 (2)
5. Cleveland State - 29
6. UIC - 27
7. Oakland - 15
8. Detroit - 7