New Haven, Conn. (2/6/19) Two-time defending champion Caldwell University sits atop the 2019 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Softball Preseason Coaches Poll, as announced on Tuesday by Commissioner Dan Mara. The Cougars earned 190 points in the voting including 10 of a possible 14 first-place votes. The voting for the poll was conducted by the league's 14 head coaches in the sport.
Wilmington University was second in the voting with 184 points and four first-place nods, while Georgian Court University rounded out the top three with 165 points. Dominican College, which reached the 2018 CACC Championship Final, was fourth with 151 points.
The Cougars captured the CACC crown last season in a thrilling game versus the Chargers, as Paige Sandoval slammed a walk-off, three-run homer over the left-field wall in the bottom of the eighth to lift Caldwell to a 10-7 win. It marked the second-consecutive title for the Cougars and locked up a bid to the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament. Sandoval is one of several returning letterwinners from a season ago for head coach Dean Johnson.
WilmU, which has won two of the last five CACC Championships (2014 & 2016), has also been an annual participant in the NCAA Regional, as the Wildcats and Cougars have been among the top programs in the nation over the last several seasons. The Wildcats will be led by preseason All-American Rosa'Lynn Burton.
Georgian Court had a fantastic bounceback year in 2018, as the Lions reached the second day of the CACC Championship, thanks in large part to stellar play by conference player of the year Samantha Reilly, who returns this year seeking to lock up the CACC's top player award for the second-straight campaign.
The 2019 CACC softball season gets underway next weekend (Feb. 15-17) with several teams traveling down South to face competition from that region, along with other Northeast schools. The regular season will be a buildup to the 2019 CACC Softball Championship, which will be held May 2-4, at Georgian Court in Lakewood, N.J. The championship will be part of the CACC Spring Championship Festival, which will be held May 2-5, and will also include men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, men's outdoor track & field and women's outdoor track & field.
2019 CACC SOFTBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Caldwell University 190 (10)
2. Wilmington University 184 (4)
3. Georgian Court University 165
4. Dominican College 151
5. Post University 129
6. Jefferson 124
7. Felician University 108
8. Holy Family University 104
9. Bloomfield College 74
10. University of the Sciences 71
T11. Goldey-Beacom College 45
T11. Nyack College 45
13. Chestnut Hill College 44
14. Concordia College 36
() - First-Place Votes