American Athletic Conference

Softball

Tulsa Picked to Win 2017 American Softball Title



PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Following a season that saw the program’s eighth NCAA Regional appearance, Tulsa was selected as the favorite in the 2017 American Athletic Conference Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as selected by the conference’s head coaches.
 
The Hurricane received four of seven first place votes for 34 total points to take the honor. Tulsa won its first American Athletic Conference Championship last season, claiming the tournament title on its home field, and appeared in its eighth NCAA Regional. The Hurricane returns 12 players from that 2016 squad, including all-conference selections Maddie Withee, Maggie Withee, Shelby Estocado and Julia Hollingsworth.
 
USF, the American regular-season champion a year ago, claimed the second spot in the preseason poll. The Bulls received three first-place votes en route to 32 total points. USF returns 15 players from the 2016 squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Juli Weber, first-team all-conference selection Lauren Evans, and second-team selections Astin Donovan and Kristen Wyckoff.  
 
UCF was picked third with 26 points. The Knights posted a 38-22 overall record in 2016, which included a 15-game win streak and the largest margin of victory over a top five opponent with an 8-1 upset of then-No. 5 Alabama. UCF earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament last season, its third consecutive year advancing to the Big Dance.
 
Houston (22 points) was fourth in the coaches' poll followed by Memphis in fifth with 14 points, UConn in sixth with 11 points and East Carolina (eight points) in seventh.
 
Head Coach Kristin Vesely and the Cougars will play 17 games against top-30 RPI teams to open the spring campaign. The Tigers return top hitters Lindsay Crowdus, Lindsey Stickrod and Kyler Trosclair to this year’s squad. The Huskies will play 17 games against NCAA Tournament teams this year, and 24 against top-100 RPI opponents. The Pirates return three of its top four hitters in 2017 as well as its entire pitching staff. 

The 2017 softball season begins Thursday, Feb. 9 while conference play starts Friday, Mar. 24. The 2017 American Softball Championship will take place May 11-13 on the campus of East Carolina at the ECU Softball Stadium in Greenville, N.C.

2017 American Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll

 
School (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Tulsa (4) 34
2. USF (3) 32
3. UCF 26
4. Houston 22
5. Memphis 14
6. UConn 11
7. East Carolina 8