FGCU Picked to Finish Third in Preseason A-Sun Softball Poll
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
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photo by Dennis Synder
photo by Dennis Synder

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team was selected third in the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason coaches’ poll, the league announced Wednesday. Jacksonville earned top billing, edging out Lipscomb and the Eagles.

“The Atlantic Sun Conference is one of the best softball conferences in the country so we are pleased to be ranked as highly as we are,” said head coach David Deiros. “Our team certainly appreciates the esteem granted us by the conference coaches in voting us third. If that holds true, it will satisfy one of our preseason goals which is to qualify for the A-Sun Tournament. However, with no players chosen to the All-Conference squad and two teams voted ahead of us, the rankings also provide us some very tangible targets to shoot for. We are looking forward to getting started in two weeks.”

Junior outfielder Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers) returns for the Eagles after starting 55 games and hitting three home runs with 29 RBI last season. Sophomore second basemen Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) started every game and led the team with 10 home runs in 2011. Senior pitcher Morgan Campen (Rougemont, N.C./Northern HS) returns to the circle as the top pitcher after making 14 appearances last season.

Like it has in each of its first four seasons in Division I, FGCU opens its season on the road at a USF-hosted tournament in Tampa, Fla. The Eagles play a five-game stint from Feb. 10-12 and will face host USF (Feb. 10), No. 2 Florida (Feb. 10), Long Island (Feb. 11), Maine (Feb. 11) and Illinois State (Feb. 12) during the three-day span.

Preseason Player of the Year
Sarah Simon, Jacksonville

Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Sarah Sigrest, Jacksonville

Preseason Coaches Poll (First Place Votes)

1. Jacksonville (9)

2. Lipscomb (1)

3. FGCU

4. USC Upstate

5. Kennesaw State

6. UNF

7. Mercer

8. Stetson

9. Belmont

10. ETSU

Tournament Champion: Jacksonville (6 votes)

Preseason All-Conference Team

Catcher – Sarah Simon, Jacksonville

Infield – Sam Lower, ETSU

Infield – Amanda Schmidt, Jacksonville*

Infield – Sharon Swanson, Kennesaw State

Infield – Sara Stukes, Mercer

Outfield – Sara Sikes, Kennesaw State

Outfield – Caroline Mason, Lipscomb

Outfield – Chrissy Morello, Stetson

Designated Player – Jessica Cross, Kennesaw State* Pitcher – Whitney Kiihnl, Lipscomb

Pitcher – Sarah Sigrest, Jacksonville*

*-Denotes Unanimous Selection