RICHMOND, Va. – The Elon University softball team was selected to finish fourth in the 2016 Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Poll as tabbed by the league coaches and announced on Wednesday, Jan. 27, by the conference office.
The fourth-place standing is the Phoenix’s highest preseason conference ranking since 2011. Elon had 38 points in the preseason poll, just one shy of third-place College of Charleston (39) while edging Towson (37), who was tabbed fifth.
James Madison was a unanimous selection to finish first with 56 points after the Dukes went undefeated in league play last season with a 19-0 record. Hofstra, who won the league’s tournament championship last season over JMU, was tabbed second with 49 points. Delaware (24), UNCW (19) and Drexel (16) rounded out this year’s preseason poll.
Fifth-year head coach Kathy Bocock, who won her 100th career game at Elon last season, returns 10 letterwinners and seven starters from her squad that finished third in the maroon and gold’s inaugural year in the CAA in 2015. Bocock also welcomes seven talented newcomers into the fold for 2016.
Headlining the returners is All-CAA second team selection Alaina Hall along with CAA All-Rookie team honorees Hannah Olson and Kara Shutt. The Phoenix also welcomes back its top two pitchers in terms of innings pitched in senior Kayla Caruso and sophomore Kiandra Mitchum.
Elon opens its 40th season of softball on Feb. 12, at the Red and Black Showcase, hosted by the University of Georgia. The maroon and gold opens the tournament versus Winthrop before facing the host Bulldogs later that afternoon.