CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BigSouthSports.com) - Charleston Southern was selected third overall in the Big South Conference Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll as announced by the league office on Wednesday afternoon.
The Buccaneers received 60 points and two first place votes in the poll after making it to the semifinals in the 2015 Big South Softball Tournament.
"It's exciting that the season is right around the corner," said CSU head coach Shane Winkler. "We have an experienced group returning and the expectations are going to be high. The girls have shown over the past few weeks that they are hungry and ready to have a special season. I couldn't be more excited to get out on the field February 12th seeing where our team is against opposing teams and focus on continuing to improve daily as the season progresses. The Big South is going to be very competitive this season and we're looking forward to the weekly grind of trying to win a championship."
The Bucs roster features a young, but experienced roster led by senior Natalie Yonan, as well as All-Conference selections Amanda Matsumoto and Cheyenne Gandara, as well as All-Tournament selection Stephanie Bergmann.
For the first time since joining the Big South four seasons ago, Longwood University's softball team has been voted the Big South Conference's preseason favorite by the league's Head Softball Coaches, it was announced today by the Conference office. In addition, the coaches voted Coastal Carolina senior catcher Morgan Noad the conference's Preseason Player of the Year and Lancers' junior Elizabeth McCarthy the league's Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
Coastal Carolina was second in the preseason poll with 67 points and two first-place votes, while Charleston Southern was third with 60 points (two first-place votes). Liberty finished fourth in the voting with 56 points and received one first-place nod. Winthrop was chosen fifth with 42 points (one first-place vote), with Presbyterian College landing in the sixth spot with 39 points. Campbell garnered seventh-place (36 points and the remaining first-place vote), followed by Radford (eighth, 18 points) and Gardner-Webb (ninth, 17 points).
The 2016 Big South softball season begins Thursday, February 11, while the first conference meeting is set for the weekend of March 18-20. The 2016 Big South Softball Championship tournament is slated for May 11-14 and will be hosted by Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.