By Jessica Whalen, @jlhudginswhalen
Despite a new head coach and transitioning to a new league, the Wolverines softball team was selected to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference preseason poll released Jan. 28.
New Mexico State was tabbed the favorite. The conference’s six head coaches tabulated the votes. However, coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team to win.
The Aggies came in first place with 25 points, Seattle University came in second with 19, UVU had 14, Bakersfield came in fourth with 13 points, and rounding out the top five with 10 points was Kansas City.
“Being ranked third obviously has no bearing on how our team will perform in the WAC,” UVU head coach Nikki Palmer told UVU Athletics. “We have set our goals high and we plan to achieve them all. With the dedication and hard work this team has shown thus far, there should be no reason they cannot achieve what they have set out to complete.”
UVU senior first baseman Amanda Robinson and junior pitcher Josi Summers placed on the 2014 preseason softball All-WAC Team. The team is comprised of players from all the teams in the WAC Conference.
“The preseason picks of [Robinson] and [Summers] are spot on,” Palmer continued. “These two will be among the many elite athletes on our team this year to pose a defensive threat and certainly on [Robinson’s] side an offensive prowess as well.”
It was a no-brainer that Robinson would be voted to the preseason All-WAC team. Robinson was a force to be reckoned with, leading the team in home runs with seven and posted a .351 batting average and 31 RBIs.
The Wolverines are coming off a 2012-13 campaign that had its ups and downs for the team. The team finished with a 35-20 record with a 14-10 conference record. The team also had key wins against Oklahoma State, Nevada and beat all the teams in the state.
The 2014 season begins Feb. 7, concluding with the 2014 WAC Softball Tournament May 8-10, hosted by Seattle University held at Logan Field in Seattle.
Utah Valley will play their first five games at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah on Feb. 7th. Their first game will be played against Idaho State at the Classic.