AU softball team chosen third in Empire 8 coaches’ preseason poll
ALFRED, NY – The Alfred University softball team has been picked to finish third in the Empire 8 Conference, according to coaches’ preseason poll, released this week.
AU, coming off a 27-14 season in which the Saxons tied for third place in the Empire 8 with a 7-5 conference mark, is picked by coaches to finish behind Ithaca (48 points, six first-place votes) and St. John Fisher (43 points, two first-place votes).
The Saxons earned 35 points in the poll, ahead of Stevens Institute of Technology (29 points), which tied AU for third in the conference standings last season. Rounding out the preseason poll are Utica (fifth, 28 points) Elmira (sixth, 19 points), Nazareth (seventh, 15 points) and conference newcomer Houghton (eighth, seven points).
AU returns six starters from a season ago, including two players – senior second baseman Maressa Mistretta (Shirley, NY/Longwood) and junior designated player Stephanie Arguello (Placentia, CA/Vista del Lago) – who earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) East Region Second Team all-stars in 2012. Mistretta and senior utility player Hana Gross (Union, NJ/Union) were named Empire 8 First Team all-stars in 2012, while Arguello was given honorable mention.
AU opens its 2013 campaign with a 12-game preseason trip to Tuscon, AZ, March 11-16. The Saxons then play a 3 p.m. doubleheader on March 20 against visiting RIT on Alfred’s new on-campus field. The Saxons play their conference-opening doubleheader March 30 at Nazareth.
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