Golden Bears open 2018 campaign on March 17 against Transylvania in Florida
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (March 1, 2018) – Western New England University is among the favorites in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released on Thursday by the league office.
Two-time defending champion Salve Regina University was picked first in a vote of the league's ten head coaches, as the Seahawks received eight first place tallies and 93 total points.
Western New England followed in second place with one first place vote and 86 points, while Endicott College received the final first place nod and finished third with 80 points.
Roger Williams (77 points) and the University of New England (53) were selected fourth and fifth, respectively, while Nichols (44), Curry (40), Gordon (39), Eastern Nazarene (26) and Wentworth (12) rounded out the final five spots in the poll.
Coming off three straight top-two finishes in the CCC regular season standings, the Golden Bears are again expected to be one of the top teams in the conference this spring.
Now in her 22nd season at the helm of her alma mater, head coach Lori Mayhew-Wood has led Western New England to five consecutive 20+ win campaigns.
Despite losing a trio of All-CCC performers to graduation, three other All-CCC selections return for the Golden Bears in senior infielder Lindsay Williams (Coventry, Conn.) and sophomore pitchers Aimee Kistner (Taunton, Mass.) and Paige Uliase (Meriden, Conn.).
Williams hit .358 with 12 RBI and 20 runs scored last spring, while Uliase went 8-3 with a 2.63 earned run average during her successful freshman campaign.
Kistner made an immediate impact both in the circle and at the plate for the Golden Bears on her way to CCC Rookie of the Year accolades. She hit .396 with four home runs, a team-high 27 RBI and 29 runs scored, while also going 6-4 with a 2.88 earned run average.
Western New England opens its 2018 campaign against Transylvania on Saturday, March 17, the first of ten games for the Golden Bears in central Florida. Conference play gets underway at Nichols on March 28, before Western New England opens its home slate against Curry on March 31.