Softball picked to defend GLVC title; UMSL Tritons begin season ranked No. 18
Fresh off the program’s first-ever Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship, the University of Missouri–St. Louis softball team has been selected to defend its West Division crown, as announced today by the league office. The annual preseason poll ranks the top-eight teams in each of the conference’s two divisions, which were voted on by the league coaches. Indianapolis was the favorite in the East Division.
Additionally, the UMSL Tritons will enter the 2014 season ranked No. 18 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Preseason Poll, also released today. UMSL ended last season ranked No. 22 nationally in the poll.
The Tritons received 120 points in the GLVC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and will look to improve on its 41-13 record from a year ago, which marked the second most wins in program history. In addition to winning its first conference crown, UMSL earned its third bid to the NCAA Midwest Regional. Under the direction of fourth-year head coach Brian Levin, the Tritons return eight starters in the field along with their top two pitchers, including All-American Hannah Perryman – the 2013 GLVC Pitcher of the Year. As a freshman, she led NCAA Division II in strikeouts with 352, while her 12.2 strikeouts per seven innings also topped the national rankings. Perryman finished the year 24-6 with a 1.55 ERA.
William Jewell was tabbed to place second in the West with 92 points, followed by newcomer Truman State in third with 89 points. Drury (73), Quincy (66) and Missouri S&T (53) placed fourth through sixth, respectively, and Rockhurst (47) and Maryville (28) rounded out the division.
Indianapolis came just one vote shy of being a unanimous selection in the East as its 119 points included 14 of the 15 available first-place votes. Conference bylaws state that a school cannot vote for itself or for its players for conference awards.
Lewis secured the second position in the East with 102 points and one first-place tally. Bellarmine followed in third with 89 points and the other first-place point, while Southern Indiana netted 83 markers to place fourth in the preseason poll. Rounding out the East was Illinois Springfield (59), Saint Joseph’s (57), McKendree (38) and UW-Parkside (26).
The league office will host the 2014 GLVC Championship Tournament on May 2-4 at the EastSide Centre in Peoria, Ill.
Defending national champion Central Oklahoma was the unanimous No. 1 selection in the 2014 NFCA Division II Preseason Poll. The Tritons defeated the Bronchos (then ranked No. 16), 3-0, in last year’s season opener. UMSL will face Central Oklahoma on Saturday, Feb. 15 in Bentonville, Ark.
Indianapolis was the only other GLVC team in the poll, coming in at seventh.
UMSL begins its 2014 season February 14-16 at the Bentonville Classic Tournament in Bentonville, Ark. The Tritons face Southern Nazarene in their season opener on the 14th at 11:30 a.m.
UMSL baseball, meanwhile, has been picked to tie for second in the GLVC West Division. The Tritons baseball team will open its 2014 season with a three-game home series against Minnesota-Crookston Feb. 28-March 2.
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