From Stephen F. Austin Athletics:
The SFA Softball team has been picked to finish first in the Southland Conference Preseason Coaches Poll as voted on by the league’s coaches and administrators, per a release from the conference office on Wednesday.
SFA received 11 of the 24 possible first-place votes and 217 votes overall, edging out rival Sam Houston State (210 overall, 10 first-place votes) for the top spot. McNeese (202 votes), Nicholls (186 votes) and Southeastern Louisiana (177 votes) rounded out the top five.
SFA returns 14 players from last season, including three Preseason All-Conference selections in Kassidy Wilbur (First Team), Ashley Kriesel (Second Team) and Bryana Novegil (Second Team).
The Ladyjacks tied for the league lead with three players on the preseason rosters, led by sophomore first-team pitcher Kassidy Wilbur. Wilbur will look to build upon her Southland Freshman of the Year season when she ranked second in the league with 256 strikeouts over 229.2 innings and a .206 opposing batting average. She is joined by fellow pitcher and second-team selection Ashley Kriesel who tallied a 2.43 ERA and a 14-6 record with 169 strikeouts with just a .214 opposing batting average.
Bryana Novegil also earned automatic preseason distinctions after helping the SFA squad to an 18-9 Southland record last year. The lefty hitter compiled a .305 batting average with a team-high 35 runs and 58 hits last season.
SFA begins play in the 2020 softball season on February 7 at the ULM Tournament, where they face Southern in the season opener. Click here to see the full Southland Conference Preseason Poll.