Herd Softball Ranked 30th in USA Today/NFCA Coaches Preseason Poll
Marshall received 17 votes
USA Today/NFCA Coaches Preseason Poll
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Marshall softball team enters the 2018 season ranked 30th in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Preseason Poll released Tuesday. The Thundering Herd received 17 votes while 2017 Women’s College World Series National champions Oklahoma claimed the top spot.
“There are a few different pre-season polls and rankings out there, and they all usually predict something different than the other,” Herd head coach Jen Steele said. “Although it’s nice to receive votes and have other coaches think highly of our program, we try not to pay too much attention to them.
“If pre-season predictions mattered, no one would play.”
Marshall finished the 2017 season with a 42-12 record and ranked 24th in the final poll of the season. The Herd takes the field against No. 13 Auburn on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. eastern.
The 2018 schedule features 13 games against eight teams that are either ranked, or received votes in the preseason poll. Along with Auburn, Marshall has contests with Tennessee (No. 12), James Madison (No. 21), South Carolina (RV 28th overall), Missouri (RV 31st overall), FIU (RV 33rd overall), St. Francis (RV 38th overall) and USC Upstate (RV 43rd overall).
“We are focused on continuing to grow as a squad and figure out how to beat elite competition with our personnel,” coach Steele said. “Our challenge will be to set our own standards of how we want to compete each time we step on the field and how we will represent Marshall.”
Coach Steele in her first season at the helm enters the year with a great mix of returning players and young talent. Seniors Elicia D’Orazio and Taylor McCord were selected to the Conference USA Preseason team. Fellow seniors Eloise Tribolet, Madi Marshall and Jordan Colliflower all have extensive playing experience in their Herd careers.
Other returners who all have playing time over the years on the field are juniors Abigail Estrada, Briana Daiss, Ali Burdette, Hayden Ellis, Samantha Loose, Abigail Tolbert and sophomore Kailee Williamson.
There are 10 newcomers that all bring something great to Marshall softball. Sophomore transfer Blakely Burch along with freshmen Armani Brown, Wylie Glover, Gabby Stewart, Tatum Ksiazek, Grayson Radcliffe, Rachel Rousseau, Samantha Koehn, Aly Harrell and Katie Adams.
Attendance at Dot Hicks Field for home games is free. Fans can tune into the Herd’s games all season long with 88.1 WMUL-FM and online at www.marshall.edu/wmul. Select early season road games will also be simulcast through Facebook Live. Home games will also be broadcast with a live video stream through HerdVision on CUSAtv.