Patriot League Release
Feb. 6, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. -Defending Patriot League Tournament Champion Army was picked third in the softball preseason poll released Thursday by the league office as voted upon by coaches and sports information directors. Lehigh, last year's regular-season champion, was picked as the league's favorite.
The Mountain Hawks earned 66 points with eight first-place votes to edge the league's newest member, Boston University, by three points in the balloting. Army picked up 55 points and the remaining three first-place votes as the league's head coaches and sports information directors were not allowed to vote for their own teams or players.
Colgate finished fourth with 40 points followed by Bucknell (36), Holy Cross (18) and Lafayette (16). Army, Bucknell, Colgate and Lehigh earned berths to last year's postseason tournament hosted by the Mountain Hawks.
The Black Knights went 4-1 against the field in the double elimination tournament. After suffering an 8-0 (6) loss to Lehigh the second day in a winners' bracket game, Army worked its way into the championship round where it defeated Lehigh twice (4-0, 5-0) to claim the championship title and NCAA bid for the first time since 2002.
Senior outfielder Amanda Nguyen and sophomore infielder Kasey McCravey were among an elite group of 13 players named to the league's preseason all-league team. It is the second straight year that Nguyen, a three-time Patriot League first-team selection, was a preseason pick. The senior co-captain led the league last year in hits (85), runs scored (48) and stolen bases (40), and ranked second in batting average (.381).
McCravey, a first-team selection at third base, hit .324 as a freshman and ranked among the league's leaders in hits (67), runs scored (44), RBI (36), doubles (12), home runs (5) and total bases (94).
Lehigh claimed three of the preseason all-league slots, along with sweeping the two major preseason awards in Player of the Year (Morgan Decker) and Pitcher of the Year (Emily Bausher). Boston University also had three players chosen, with Colgate, Holy Cross and Army garnering two along with one from Colgate.
Army ushers in its 36th varsity campaign at the Houston Invite (Feb. 14-16) next weekend. The Black Knights open against Stephen F. Austin on Feb. 14 at 12:30 p.m. followed by NCAA participant Nebraska at 8p.m. The next day they face the Lumberjacks (10 a.m.) for the second time at the tournament before closing with a pair of games against NCAA participant and host Houston (Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 12:30 p.m.). A
rmy and the Cougars are renewing last year's rivalry at the NCAA Austin Regional Tournament hosted by Texas. After suffering a 5-0 defeat to the Longhorns, Army threw a scare at Houston in the next round. The Black Knights scored four runs in overcoming a 3-0 deficit to pull in front, 4-3, before suffering a 7-5 defeat en route to closing out the season with a 35-26 mark.
Patriot League Softball Preseason Poll
1. Lehigh, 66 points (8 first-place votes)
2. Boston University, 63 (3)
3. Army, 55 (3)
4. Colgate, 40
5. Bucknell, 36
6. Holy Cross, 18
7. Lafayette, 16
Preseason Player of the Year: Morgan Decker, Lehigh (So., INF)
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Emily Bausher, Lehigh (Jr., P)
Amanda Nguyen, Army (Sr., OF)
Kasey McCravey, Army (So., INF)
Jayme Mask, Boston University (Sr., OF)
Brittany Clendenny, Boston University (Sr., SS)
Amy Ekart, Boston University (Sr., C)
Cydnee Sanders, Bucknell (Jr., SS/Util)
Amanda Fazio, Bucknell (So., P/OF)
Mariel Schlaefer, Colgate (So., C)
Emily Jarvis, Holy Cross (So., OF)
Colleen Ahern, Holy Cross (So., DP/1B)
Emily Bausher, Lehigh (Jr., P/OF)
Morgan Decker, Lehigh (So., INF)
Alexis Watanabe, Lehigh (So., INF)
*One extra player due to tie in the voting