Feb. 4, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Lehigh, winner of each of the last two Patriot League Softball championships, topped the 2013 preseason poll by narrowly edging out second-place Army, it was announced Monday afternoon by the League office.
In addition, Lehigh swept the two major preseason awards, as senior C Liz Lucas was named Preseason Player of the Year, and senior Rebecca Bliss was tabbed the Preseason Pitcher of the Year. The pair head up a League-high four Mountain Hawks on the Preseason All-League squad.
Voting was conducted by the League’s softball head coaches and sports information directors who could not cast ballots for their own teams or players.
Lehigh topped the poll voting with 47 points and seven first-place votes, just ahead of Army’s 45 points. The Black Knights collected the remaining five first-place ballots. Colgate took third with 34 points, followed by Lafayette with 22. The poll was rounded out by Bucknell in fifth with 17 points and Holy Cross in sixth with 15.
Lucas hit .348 with six home runs and 40 runs batted in last season, and returns for her senior season after being a unanimous selection to the All-League team last spring. She earned All-Tournament team honors as well during the Mountain Hawks’ 40-win campaign that saw them capture their second consecutive and 12th overall tournament crown.
Bliss picked up her second straight Tournament MVP honor a season ago, pitching a pair of shutouts in the tournament, including a 2-0 blanking of Army in the title game to deliver the crown to Lehigh. Bliss finished the season 19-7 with the second-lowest earned-run average (2.08) with 10 shutouts and 20 complete games in 32 appearances.
Joining Lucas and Bliss on the preseason squad from Lehigh were senior OF Rosie Roessel and sophomore P Emily Bauscher. Bauscher led the League in ERA (1.78) and opponents’ batting average (.171) while going 17-11 in the circle in 30 appearances. Roessel hit .345 with 36 runs scored and a League-best 22 steals.
Army claimed second in the poll and also had the second-most selections on the Preseason All-League team. Morgan Lashley the reigning Patriot League Pitcher and Rookie of the Year, is back for her sophomore campaign after setting League records for appearances (56), starts (51), complete games (37), wins (33) and inning pitched (327.0). She was a first-team All-League selection, and garnered All-Tournament team honors as well. She’s one of three Black Knights on the preseason team, joined by senior 2B Alex Reynolds (.271, 4 HR, 30 RBI) and junior OF Amanda Nguyen (.365, 19 SB).
Colgate and Holy Cross each placed a pair on the preseason team. Senior 1B Emmie Dolfi (.295, 6 HR, 35 RBI) and junior OF Tera Vaughn (.301, 17 RBI, 11 SB) were named to the team from Colgate, while Holy Cross placed senior 1B/DP Sam Fregenti (.307, 4 HR, 18 RBI) and junior 3B Alex Gustafson (.294, 2 HR, 12 RBI).
Bucknell senior IF/OF Mary Horton (.313, 7 RBI, 5 2B) rounded out the preseason All-League squad.
Seven of the 12 members of the Preseason All-League team were seniors, while there were three juniors and a pair of sophomores.
2013 also introduces a pair of new coaches in the League. Melissa Finley takes over at Colgate, while Bonnie Skrenta is the new leading voice at Bucknell.
The season begins Friday as Army opens play in the Plainsman Invitational Tournament hosted by Auburn University. The Black Knights take on Furman and Kent State. Bucknell’s season opens Feb. 16 in a tournament hosted by Cleveland State, and Lehigh gets underway a week later at the ECU Pirate Classic. Lafayette begins play March 1, Holy Cross opens March 3 and Colgate’s first game is March 8.
2013 Patriot League Preseason Softball Poll
1. Lehigh – 47 points (7 first-place votes)
2. Army – 45 (5)
3. Colgate – 34
4. Lafayette – 22
5. Bucknell – 17
6. Holy Cross – 15
Preseason Player of the Year – Liz Lucas, Lehigh, Sr., C
Preseason Pitcher of the Year – Rebecca Bliss, Lehigh, Sr.
Preseason All-League Team
Alex Reynolds, Army, Sr., 2B
Amanda Nguyen, Army, Jr., OF
Morgan Lashley, Army, So., P
Mary Horton, Bucknell, Sr., IF/OF
Emmie Dolfi, Colgate, Sr., 1B
Tera Vaughn, Colgate, Jr., OF
Sam Fregenti, Holy Cross, Sr., 1B/DP
Alex Gustafson, Holy Cross, Jr., 3B
Rebecca Bliss, Lehigh, Sr., P
Liz Lucas, Lehigh, Sr., C
Rosie Roessel, Lehigh, Sr., OF
Emily Bausher, Lehigh, So., P