Cambridge, Mass- The NECC coaches have tabbed Lesley University to repeat as the NECC Softball Champions, as the Lynx finished with 60 total points and four out of the nine possible first place nods. Lesley, led by second year head coach Heather Ross, returns six starters, including three 2017 first team All-NECC selections, senior second baseman Courtney Goggin, senior outfielder Therese Pereira and junior first baseman Jordan Raab. Goggin batted .331 for the Lynx, and was sixth in the conference in doubles, with 13. Pereira batted .361, and is a threat on the the bases, with 13 stolen bases in the 2017 season, good for third in the conference. Raab was strong on defense for the Lynx, with a .977 fielding percentage with only six errors.
Newbury College was close behind, with 57 points, including three first place votes. The Nighthawks return six starters from a team that reached the championship a season ago, including 2018 Fastpitch Nation Division III Preseason All-American selection, Noelle Sass. The junior catcher was a 2017 First-Team All-NECC selection, as she was third in the conferene in batting average with .448 and home runs with nine. Sass also tallied 34 RBIs for the Nighthawks.
Landing in third place with 48 points, and one first place selection, is Becker College. The Hawks return pitcher Samantha Lee, who was a second team All-NECC selection a season ago. Lee was second in the conference with a 2.68 ERA, striking out 103 batters in 135.2 innings pitched.
The final first place vote went to Elms College, who finished with 43 points to land in fourth place. The Blazers return eight starters, among them junior Erin O'Donnell, who was a first team All-NECC pick at the designated player spot in 2017. O'Donnell tallied 29 runs batted in, while batting .419 for Elms.
Bay Path University finished in fifth place with 37 total points. Bay Path returns the 2017 NECC Player of the Year, Lauren Vallee. The senior shortstop led the conference in batting average (.565), hits (65), home runs (11) and runs batted in (48). She helped lead the Wildcats to the double elimination portion of the NECC tournament for the first time in more than five years. Vallee was recently named to the 2018 Fastpitch Nation Division III Preseason All-American team.
Closing out the polls is Dean College with 31 points, Mitchell College with 25 points, Southern Vermont College with 13 points, and Wheelock College with 10 points.
Softball Preseason Coaches Poll
- Lesley- 60 (4)
- Newbury- 57 (3)
- Becker- 48 (1)
- Elms- 43 (1)
- Bay Path- 37
- Dean- 31
- Mitchell- 25
- Southern Vermont- 13
- Wheelock- 10