EDISON, N.J. - The Marist Softball team has been picked to finish second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Coaches Preseason Poll as announced by the league on Friday afternoon. In a close vote, Marist finished just three points behind the favorite Fairfield with 69 points. The Stags, runners-up in last year's MAAC Tournament garnered 72 votes.
In the preseason All-MAAC individual player portion of the poll, the Red Foxes had three players recognized: seniors Danielle Koltz (Chenango Bridge, N.Y.) and Emily Osterhaus (Suwanee, Georgia) and junior Alyssa Zahka (Lexington, Mass.). Marist's three selections were second-best in the league.
Koltz returns for her senior season following a Second Team All-MAAC nod in 2012. She finished the 2012 ranked amongst the MAAC's best in five categories: RBIs (39-3rd), doubles (11-5th), total bases (91-5th), slugging percentage (.529-7th) and batting average (.314-12th). Koltz goes into the 2013 season holding a pair of spots in Marist's top 10 all-time records; sixth with 19 home runs and 10th with 78 RBIs.
Osterhaus heads into her final campaign with the Red Foxes as the leader of the pitching staff. The fifth-winningest pitcher in Marist history, she pitched in a team-high 27 games for the Red Foxes as a junior in 2012. She led the staff with 11 wins, 11 complete games, two shutouts, three saves, 124 innings pitched and 85 strikeouts.
Zahka, a 2012 First Team All-MAAC honoree, returns following a stellar sophomore season. In her second year with the Red Foxes she ranked top seven in the MAAC in runs scored (40-2nd), doubles (12-4th), batting average (.327-7th) and on-base percentage (.415-7th). Zahka also ranked first on Marist with 55 hits and second with 31 RBIs.
Last season, the Red Foxes finished with a 28-27 and qualified for their second straight MAAC tournament before falling in the semifinals to Canisius. The Red Foxes will open the 2013 season on the weekend of March 2, with four games in conjunction with the Spartan Classic at Norfolk State.
MAAC SOFTBALL PRESEASON COACHES' POLL:
1. Fairfield - 72
2. Marist - 69
T3. Siena - 61
T3. Canisius - 61
5. Iona - 41
6. Niagara - 33
7. Manhattan - 31
8. Rider - 24
9. Saint Peter's - 13
ALL-MAAC PRESEASON TEAM
C: Lauren Liseth - Fairfield
OF: Sammy Ruffolo - Fairfield, Eileen McCann - Iona, Jodi Peterson - Iona
DP: Allysen Breeden - Rider
UT: Jessika-Jo Sandrini - Siena
P: Jen Consaul - Canisius, Rebecca Trott - Fairfield, Emily Osterhaus - Marist