The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference released Thursday the 2017 Preseason Softball Coaches’ Poll. The Northern State Wolves were picked to finish ninth in the league with 119 points, while Minnesota State was picked to top the league with 225 points and 15 first place votes.
The Northern State softball team enters the 2017 season after finishing 9th in the league a season ago and going 1-2 from the NSIC Tournament with a 25-32 overall record. The Wolves tallied two big wins over conference champions Minnesota State with a 3-2 and 9-1 sweep from home. With the loss of four starters, Kelsey Gale, Kalie Maiden, Macey Engel and Brittney Lash, the Wolves have filled the lineup with seven seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and six freshmen.
In the 2016 season, the Wolves scored a total of 188 runs in their 57 match-ups, averaging 3.3 runs per game. The Wolves wrapped up the year with a team batting average of .251 compared to their opponents .278. Junior Katie Dawson led the Wolves from the plate with a batting average of .260, followed by Rachel Albright with .258. Defensively, NSU finished with a team fielding percentage of .962.
Seniors Albright and Missy Elkins were slated as Northern State’s preseason players to watch. Elkins looks to add to her 31 career wins, while Rachel Albright chases the career homerun record of 14 (currently at 13).
The Wolves will open the season from Aberdeen, S.D. at the Presentation College Dome, facing Southwest Minnesota State, Minnesota Crookston, Dakota State University and Valley City State. First pitch of the season will be Saturday, February 11 at 4 p.m. versus the SMSU Mustangs.
NSU Sports Information
Photo courtesy of NSU Sports Information.