Softball Selected to Finish Fifth in the NAC

Softball Selected to Finish Fifth in the NAC

Farmington, Maine - UMaine-Farmington's softball team has been selected to finish fifth in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) preseason coaches poll that was announced on Tuesday, March 5th. 

5. UMaine-Farmington - 26

UMaine Farmington (9-21, 4-8 NAC) head coach Kat McKay enters her third season with the Beavers with only one senior, hurler Kailyn Hill (Lisbon, Maine). The young team hopes to compete and make a run for a playoff spot. With efforts from last year's NAC Rookie of the Year Kayleigh Oberg (Winthrop, Maine) and returner pitcher Brianna McGrath (Lyman, N.H.), the team aspires to attain new heights.

Husson received four first-place votes and 45 points to claim the top spot in the 2019 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) softball preseason poll. Thomas received two first-place votes and 42 points to finish second, and UMaine-Presque Isle grabbed the remaining first-place vote and 33 points to round out the top three.

SUNY Canton (28) and UMaine-Farmington (26) make up the middle of the pack at fourth and fifth, respectively. Northern Vermont-Johnson (14) and Northern Vermont-Lyndon (8) complete the poll conducted by the league's head coaches.

The NAC Champion will earn the conference's automatic qualification bid to the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Tournament.

The top two teams in Thomas and Husson are the most recent conference champions, with the Terriers winning in 2017 and the Eagles winning in 2018. Last year, Thomas entered the tournament as the number four seed and won their first game against Husson before dropping games to No. 2 New England College and No. 1 Husson in the double-elimination tournament. Husson rebounded from the early loss to Thomas to win their next four games (4-0, 1-0, 9-1, 4-1) and the NAC Championship. 

Husson earned the NAC automatic qualification bid and competed in the Williamstown Regional of the 2018 NCAA Division III Softball Tournament. Husson fell to Williams 6-0 in their first game, before dropping a one-run loss in 11 innings against Western New England, in the double-elimination tournament.

2019 Season Preview

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1. Husson - 45 (4 first-place votes)

Husson (23-15, 6-2 NAC) will be guided by first-year head coach and former Eagles infielder (2009-2011), Diann Ramsey. Junior Jen Jones (Acton, Maine) aims to build on her success from 2018 when she garnered three NAC Player of the Week awards, was named NAC Tournament MVP, and also earned NAC Pitcher of the Year honors. Jones also threw a no-hitter on April 21, 2018, against Castleton. A 2018 NAC First-Team honoree, and NFCA New England Region Second Team member, senior Olivia Smith (Calais, Maine) also returns for the Eagles in the outfield. Second baseman Bri Brochu (Pittston, Maine) returns for her junior season as a key player and senior Arika Brochu (Augusta, Maine) returns to the squad after taking last season off. The Eagles look to defend their 2018 NAC Championship with 13 returning players and nine newcomers.

2. Thomas - 42 (2 first-place votes)

Thomas College (20-17, 8-4 NAC) first-year head coach Ali Kriegel takes over after five seasons as an assistant coach in the Terriers' dugout. Thomas returns nearly all starters from a season ago and welcomes a group of newcomers who will add depth to the squad. The team welcomes back defending NAC Player of the Year Sydney LeBourveau (Jericho, Vt.) as a pitcher and utility player, along with fellow senior shortstop Lexi Colpack (Franklin, N.H.), junior third baseman Kayla Bess (Madison, Maine), and sophomore pitcher Katlyn Coulter (Jefferson, N.H.). Kriegel and the senior class will provide leadership in pursuit of their second NAC Championship in three years.


3. UMaine-Presque Isle - 33 (1 first-place vote)

UMaine-Presque Isle (25-13) enters their first season in the NAC with fifth-year head coach Sara Shaw and several key returning players. The Owls made it to their third consecutive USCAA national tournament in 2018 while ranking in the top ten in the country. The squad returns senior utility player Jordi Legassie (Presque Isle, Maine), who missed much of the season last year due to injury but still remained a key component of their offense with a .462 batting average and 17 stolen bases. The Owls also return sophomore first baseman, and Fastpitch News All-American, Melanee Terry (Moreno Valley, Calif.), who ranked in the national top-ten in batting average and was ranked as one of the toughest hitters in the NCAA to strikeout, only tallying one strikeout in the regular season. The Owls also return nearly all of their starting infield and outfield from last year's team, including two pitchers, while adding three more pitchers to the mix.

4. SUNY Canton - 28

Head Coach Quincy Lewis begins her first season at the helm of the SUNY Canton softball program after the team went 9-12 a season ago. The Roos bring back a pair of hitters who hit north of .300 in Valerie Clark (Pendleton, N.Y.) and Jaedyn Ossont (Turin, N.Y.) at .481 and .323, respectively. Raechel Yost (Albany, N.Y.) was .299 from the plate in 20 starts, while Brittany Miner (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) hit at a .259 clip. The Roos welcome a trio of freshmen pitchers: Kayla Chavarri (Pawling, N.Y.), Alaina Beane (Munnsville, N.Y.), and Jordan Knapp (Queensbury, N.Y.). Freshman catcher Mackenzie Currie (Henrietta, N.Y.) and freshman utility Sophia Harris (Liverpool, N.Y.) look to add some power to the lineup and both will make an immediate impact.

6. NVU-Johnson - 14

The Northern Vermont University-Johnson Softball team looks to make an impact of the North Atlantic Conference this season under first year head coach Stacey Fox. The Badgers return starting pitcher Emily Marshall (Malon, N.Y.). The team returns a majority of their group from the previous season as Lindsay LaPerle (Bethel, Vt.), Mary Richardson (Vernon, Vt.) and Kimberley Reville (Burke, N.Y.) will control the infield for the Badgers and Savannah Dufresne (Swanton, Vt.) and Annika Dyhrberg (Falmouth, Maine) will be experienced returners in the outfield for the Badgers.

7. NVU-Lyndon - 8

The Hornets (1-23, 0-8) will be led by second-year head coach Amanda McLean. Lyndon hopes to grow as a team, build on last season, and make big strides forward this season. Key returners include junior infielder Cecilia Chemul (Concord, Vt.), who cracked three doubles, and knocked in three runs last year. Also returning are senior outfielder Alexis Britch (Essex Junction, Vt.), who hit at a .217 clip and had a slugging percentage of .348, and junior pitcher/infielder Amber Roberts (Berlin, N.H.), who hit .196 and notched eleven strikeouts in the circle.