New Haven, Conn. (2/3/17) Caldwell University, which claimed the 2016 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) regular season championship in softball, was picked first in the 2017 CACC Preseason Poll, as announced on Friday by Commissioner Dan Mara. The Cougars earned 191 points in the voting conducted by the league's 14 head coaches, including earning 10 of the 14 first-place votes.
Wilmington University, which won the conference tournament title last spring, was second in the preseason poll with 181 points and the remaining four first-place votes. Dominican College rounded out the top three with in third with 168 points.
Caldwell returns the services of reigning CACC Player of the Year, Marisa Monasseri, who had a sensational 2016 campaign by leading the league in batting average (.423), home runs (17) and runs batted in (57). In addition to Monasseri, the Cougars also return two other players who earned First-Team All-CACC status in 2016 (2B Lauren Frye & OF Amy Hickman) and one Second-Team All-CACC honoree (P Sydney Ponto). Caldwell finished the 2016 season with a 36-15 overall record and earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II Softball Tournament East Regional.
WilmU returns both of its first-team all-league performers from a season ago in first baseman Colby Wyatt and utility-pitcher Danielle Bradley, as the duo helped guide the Wildcats to the conference crown and the automatic bid to the NCAA regional tournament. The Wildcats also return a pair of All-CACC Second-Team honorees in Jazmeen Llamas (2B) and Becca Stanley (OF). Wilmington went 31-23 last season and earned the No. 3 seed heading into the conference tournament before going all the way to raise championship hardware.
Dominican returns three of its four first-team all-conference performers from last season, including Jillian Regan (SS), Elontay Collins (OF) and Desiree Joines (P). The Chargers also welcome back both of their second-team honorees from 2016, as Taylor Gilligan and Emily Luzetsky earned All-CACC mention at third base and outfield, respectively. Dominican went 30-16-1 last season to finish second in the conference standings.
The remainder of the 2017 CACC Preseason Poll included 2016 conference finalist Holy Family University (4th, 154 pts), Post University (5th, 142 pts), Bloomfield College (6th, 106 pts), Concordia College (7th, 102 pts), Philadelphia University (8th, 92 pts), Felician University (9th, 82 pts), Chestnut Hill College (10th, 66 pts), University of the Sciences (11th, 65 pts), Georgian Court University (12th, 56 pts), Nyack College (13th, 39 pts) and Goldey-Beacom College (14th, 26 pts).
The top-eight teams in the regular season standings will advance to the CACC Championship tournament, which will be held May 4-6 on the Georgian Court campus in Lakewood, N.J. The winner of the tournament will earn the CACC's automatic bid to the NCAA regional.
ABOUT THE CACC
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Nyack College, Philadelphia University, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.
2017 CACC SOFTBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Caldwell University 191 (10)
2. Wilmington University 181 (4)
3. Dominican College 168
4. Holy Family University 154
5. Post University 142
6. Bloomfield College 106
7. Concordia College 102
8. Philadelphia University 92
9. Felician University 82
10. Chestnut Hill College 66
11. University of the Sciences 65
12. Georgian Court University 56
13. Nyack College 39
14. Goldey-Beacom College 26