Thomasville, NC> The Coker College women’s softball team has been voted the preseason favorite by head coaches throughout the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference.
Coker finished the 2004 season at 36-16 with a 16-4 conference mark. The Cobras topped the standings after the regular season to take the regular season championship but again tasted disappointment in the CVAC Tournament, where they were eliminated by Belmont Abbey who received the NCAA tournament automatic bid. Five starters return for Coker that includes 1st Team All-CVAC honorees Christan Morabito and Somer Bigham, and 2nd team members Brandi Holder and Amanda Shelton. Bigham, named CVAC Freshman of the Year, and Shelton give the Cobras solid pitching to go along with what should be a good defensive squad. Seven freshmen joined the team in the fall and will be counted on to replace several starters who graduated.
Belmont Abbey College, the 2004 CVAC Tournament Champions settle in at the second spot in the preseason coaches’ poll. Coming off their first CVAC title in school history, the 2005 Belmont Abbey softball team will have to adjust from being the hunter to the hunted. The Crusaders finished the 2004 season at 31-26, and won their final 12 games leading into the NCAA tournament. Leading the way will be junior third baseman Leigh Carter. Carter led the Crusaders in batting average, hits, home runs, doubles, and runs, earning 1st Team All-CVAC and 2nd Team All-Region honors in the process. First baseman and lone senior Stefanie Spink also returns, coming off a junior season in which she made 2nd Team All-CVAC. The Crusaders return three other starters, juniors Kelly Schafer, Cameron Greene and Sara Rodgers. Newcomers expected to make an immediate impact include freshman pitcher Shallyn Duffy, freshman outfielder Kristen Taffi and junior infielder Amy Sturch. Head Coach Lee Swanson has brought in eight new players to give the team quality depth needed to make a push for another CVAC title.
The 2005 Limestone Softball team is primed for an outstanding season as they place for their highest preseason poll rating in school history at the #3 spot. Limestone returns an excellent core to go with a strong recruiting class. The Saints return two of the CVAC’s premier hitters in Amy Yates and Keisha Powell as both were 1st Team All-CVAC members in 2004. Both sluggers ranked among the league’s leaders in batting average, homeruns, and RBI last season. Courtney Silva is also back for her senior year and will anchor the Saints outfield. Also returning from last year are a pair of sophomores including 2nd Team All-CVAC selection Lauren Miceli and pitcher Elizabeth Hawkins. Both Miceli and Hawkins are coming off outstanding freshman campaigns. Among the team’s newcomers are Jessica Brown, Brittany Owen, Heidi Odom, Heather Wood, Haley Rape, Lindsay Gladden, Keisha Thompson, and Samantha Weaver.
Rounding out the softball preseason poll 4-12 were: Anderson, Queens, Erskine, St. Andrews, Mount Olive, Pfeiffer, Barton and Lees-McRae respectively.