INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference today released the preseason coaches poll and the Mount St. Joseph University softball team found themselves near the top of the charts. The Mount came in at second place on the list with 74 overall points and two first place votes. The only team picked ahead of them in the preseason was last seasons conference champions Transylvania.
The Lions finished third in the regular season standings a season ago, before being defeated by eventual conference tournament champion Franklin in the HCAC tournament. This season the Lions return every key member of last season's squad. Leading the charge for the Mount will be a trio of returning All-HCAC performers. Sarah Miller (Fischers, Ind./St. Theodore Guerin) was the HCAC freshman of the year and a first-team All-HCAC selection a season ago, after posting a 13-7 record with a 2.57 ERA. Shortstop Alehia Tucker (Covington, Ky./Holy Cross) was named second team All-HCAC a season ago after posting a .315 batting average and leading the HCAC in stolen bases with 31. Senior catcher Savannah Sturgill (West Harrison, Ind./East Central) will again be a steadying influence behind the plate for the Lions young pitching staff. Last season Sturgill led the Lions with a .351 batting average, and 27 RBI.
The senior class will look to lead the Lions to an HCAC title this season, Sturgill is joined by fellow seniors Katie Tarter (Fairfield, Ohio/Faifield), Olivia Quick (Sunman, Ind./East Central), Brandy Bunch (Mason, Ohio/Mason), Brianna Kauf (Orrville, Ohio/Orrville) and Hayley Hudson (Hamilton, Ohio/Ross). The senior class should have a big impact for the Lions on and off the field this season.
The Lions also have an outstanding class of newcomers that the expect big things from. Headlining the class are Brooke Otto (Brookville, Ind./Franklin County) a transfer outfielder who should see her name in the lineup quite often for The Mount this season. The freshman class is nine strong for the Lions and is headlined by pitchers Kamryn McCool (Brookville, Ind./Franklin County) and Alaina Maddy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Northwest). They will join with Miller and Kauf to form a formidable pitching staff for the Lions, one that has more depth than the team has seen in recent years.
When asked about her thoughts on the upcoming season last season's HCAC Coach of the Year Beth Goderwis had this to say, "We are excited about our returning players that are back from last year's strong season. We feel that we have added some really talented new comers that will help us fill in the gaps that we lacked last year. This incoming class has already showed us a lot of grit and determination mirroring our team dynamic a year ago."
With the mix of outstanding returners, teamed with a high level class of new comers the 2019 season promises to be an exciting one for the Mount St. Joseph University softball program. The team will open the season with their annual trip to Montgomery, Alabama to take on Dallas and Huntingdon in a pair of double-headers. The Lions first home date for the 2019 season will by March 7th when the welcome Berea College to the Kinder Morgan Softball Complex. Come out and support the Lions this season as they chase an HCAC title.
Full Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conferenc Pre-season Coaches Poll
1. Transylvania: 81 (7)
2. Mount St. Joseph: 74 (2)
3. Franklin: 66
4. Defiance: 52
7. Anderson: 50
8. Rose-Hulman: 32
9. Bluffton: 27