Softball team picked fourth by conference coaches
Athletics - posted on 2/18/2009
The Lakeland softball team has been selected to finish fourth in the Northern Athletics Conference by the league's coaches, as the conference released the poll late Tuesday.
The Muskies finished with 123 points, four points ahead of Concordia, Wis., and 17 behind last year's NAC Tournament runner-up, Marian.
Last season, Lakeland posted a 17-20 mark, including a 15-9 record in league play. After knocking off Wisconsin Lutheran in the opening round of the 2008 NAC Tournament, the Muskies dropped back-to-back games, ending their season.
Catcher Nicole Holland (Waukegan, Ill.) returns as the lone senior for coach Chad Buchmann's squad. Holland appeared in seven games for the Muskies last season.
Lakeland also returns three of its top hitters last season. Second baseman KC Blahnik (Gladstone, Mich.), centerfielder Chelsea Coenen (Wrightstown) and third baseman Sam Shepeck (Gladstone, Mich.) each hit over .300 as regulars in the Muskie line-up.
Junior Sara Roberts (Escanaba, Mich.), the team's top returning pitcher, tallied a 14-12 record along with a 3.21 earned run average in 2008.
Lakeland begins its season on March 15 against Central and Augsburg as part of a five-day, 10-game trip in Tuscon, Ariz.
Two-time defending NAC champion Aurora has been picked first by the coaches, followed by Benedictine, last season's regular season runner-up.
The NAC Tournament champion will automatically qualify for a bid to the 2009 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship Tournament.
For the complete NAC Softball Coaches' Preseason Poll, see below. First place votes are in parenthesis.
2009 NAC Softball Coaches' Preseason Poll
1. Aurora University (8), 164
2. Benedictine University (3), 150
3. Marian University (1), 140
4. Lakeland College, 123
5. Edgewood College, 119
6. Concordia University Wisconsin (1), 112
7. Wisconsin Lutheran College, 83
8. Concordia University Chicago, 68
Dominican University, 68
10. Rockford College, 63
11. Alverno College, 51
12. Maranatha Baptist Bible College, 25
13. MSOE, 17
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