@FGCU_Softball Selected As Atlantic Sun Runner Up; Zgrabik Earns Preseason Honors
Monday, January 27, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
Zgrabik led the team with 15 home runs and 56 RBI last season. Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Zgrabik led the team with 15 home runs and 56 RBI last season. Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson

MACON, Ga. – With the 2014 softball season quickly approaching, the FGCU softball team was selected to finish second in the Atlantic Sun as determined by the league’s coaches in the preseason poll.  Senior catcher Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice High School) was tabbed Preseason Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season.

As announced by the league on Monday, the Spartans of USC Upstate were selected to finish atop the 10-team standings.  The Spartans earned the conference championship last season and received seven first-place votes in the coaches’ poll.  The Eagles picked up two first-place votes.

“This poll goes to show that Upstate is the team to beat,” said head coach David Deiros. “They are the defending champions and if we want to get greater recognition and move up in the NCAA rankings, we’ll have to go through them.”

Zgrabik concluded her junior season with recognition as an NFCA All-South Region First Team member and was named Atlantic Sun Co-Player of the Year, while also picking up an A-Sun All-Conference Second Team selection.  Zgrabik batted .329 as a junior with a team-leading 15 home runs and 56 runs batted in.  The catcher also added 29 runs scored, 10 doubles and four sacrifice hits with a perfect 1.000 mark in the field.  This season she is one of just two unanimous selections for the Preseason All-Conference Team.

“I want to congratulate Chelsea for an award that highlights her past accomplishments,” added Deiros.  “I know she’s looking forward to living up to the accolade.”

As a sophomore, Zgrabik was unanimously named the Preseason All-Conference team catcher. Zgrabik finished the 2012 season by earning a NFCA All-South Region Second team nod and a spot on the A-Sun All-Conference first team. 

As a team, the Eagles will return 76 percent of last year’s 395 hits, including 111 extra-base hits.  The Green and Blue welcomes back hitters who recorded 84 percent of the team’s 270 RBI and 72 percent of 294 runs scored.  The team also maintains all three pitchers who combined for an ERA of 3.10 and collectively struck out 157 batters. The team finished third in the Atlantic Sun with a 16-7 record, and held a 36-18 record overall.

In addition to the Preseason Player of the Year, the 2014 squad features a class of six newcomers and welcomes back 14 players. Among the returners, junior Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla/Hagerty High School) received NFCA All-South Region first team, All-Atlantic Sun Second Team, Academic All-Conference team and College Sports Madness A-Sun All-Conference First Team honors after leading the team with a batting average of .380.  Carpenter knocked in 35 runs with 60 hits including a team-high 10 doubles and five triples.  

The Eagles will open the year with Mississippi on Friday, Feb. 7 as part of the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational.  The tournament will also welcome Georgetown, Western Kentucky and Liberty to Fort Myers for the three-day event.  The Green and Blue will begin Atlantic Sun action at Lipscomb on Saturday, March 8 with a three-game series in Nashville, Tenn. 


Preseason Player of the Year: Chelsea Zgrabik, FGCU
Fan Voted Preseason Player of the Year: Meredith Owen, Stetson
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Kaylie Wallace, North Florida
Fan Voted Pitcher of the Year: Kaylie Wallace, North Florida


Preseason All-Conference Team


 Name                         School         Cl.     Hometown       Academic Major
 *C  Chelsea Zgrabik FGCU Sr. Venice, Fla.    Psychology
 *UT  Meredith Owen Stetson Sr.   Jackson, Miss.     Marketing
 P Amanda Henderson  KSU  Sr. Covington, Ga.  Business
 P Kaylie Wallace  UNF Jr. North Palm Beach, Fla.  Accounting
 INF  Karson Tuck JU  Sr. Walkerville, Md.   Biology
 INF  Brittany Elmore Lip.    So. Mount Juliet, Tenn.  Education
 INF Cheyenne Griffin Upstate Jr.  Moore, S.C.   Biology
 INF        Maddison Kieffer  Upstate  Jr.  Middleburg, Fla.  Nursing
 OF Meredith Barnes Upstate  Sr.  Salem, Ore.    Sociology
 OF     McKenzie Woody  Mercer   Sr. Fayetteville, Ga.   Education
 OF Shellie Robinson Upstate  Jr.   DeLand, Fla.   Chemistry


2014 Preseason Softball Coaches Poll

Place Team Votes              
1 USC Upstate  97 (7)              
2 FGCU 85 (2)              
3 Lipscomb 78 (1)              
4 North Florida 77              
5 Kennesaw State 58              
6 Stetson 51              
7 Jacksonville 43              
8 Mercer 31              
9 Northern Kentucky 18              
10 ETSU 12