SPARTANBURG, SC – UNC Greensboro was picked to finish fifth by the league's head coaches in the Southern Conference preseason poll, the league office announced Thursday. The Spartans placed senior pitcher Hannah Angel on the Preseason All-Southern Conference First Team.
UNCG, which finished 23-33 overall and fifth at 7-11 in the SoCon last season, garnered 34 points in voting by the nine head coaches, who could not vote for their own team or players. The Spartans were just three points shy of fourth-place Georgia Southern, while defending regular-season and tournament champion Chattanooga grabbed eight first-place votes and was selected to win its third straight title.
College of Charleston was tabbed second, while Elon was third and picked up the remaining first-place vote. League newcomer Samford was picked sixth behind UNCG, while Furman, Appalachian State and Western Carolina rounded out the poll, in that order.
Angel earned a spot on the preseason first team after a 2008 campaign that saw her post a 12-14 record and a 2.46 ERA. Angel saved her best play of the season for last, finishing the year 5-1 with a save in her last nine appearances. The Eastbend, NC, native went 1-1 with a save and a shutout in the SoCon tournament to earn all-tournament honors, and was named the league's pitcher of the week on May 5.
Angel also had the second-most strikeouts in a single season in school history in 2008, whiffing 177 batters. She also moved up to fifth in career strikeouts at UNCG with 365 and into eighth in career wins with 24.
Coach Jennifer Herzig's UNCG squad opens the 2009 campaign on Feb. 6 at the USF Louisville Slugger Tournament in Tampa, FL, against North Florida and South Florida. The Spartans will then face Illinois State and Florida Gulf Coast the following day before wrapping up the tournament against Minnesota on Feb. 8.
Preseason Poll (1st Votes) Total Points
1. Chattanooga (8) 64
2. College of Charleston 55
3. Elon (1) 48
4. Georgia Southern 37
5. UNC Greensboro 34
6. Samford 29
7. Furman 24
8. Appalachian State 19
9. Western Carolina 14
First Team Preseason All-Southern Conference
P - Brooke Loudermilk – Chattanooga
P - Hannah Angel – UNC Greensboro
C – Jenny Side – Georgia Southern
1B – Michelle Fuzzard – Chattanooga
2B – Nina Iduate – Georgia Southern
SS – Amanda Hall – Georgia Southern
3B – Robyne Siliga – Georgia Southern
OF – Tiffany Harmon – College of Charleston
OF – Laci Upchurch – Chattanooga
OF – Jessica Owens – Samford
DP – Shannon Howard – College of Charleston
UT – Katie Boyd – Appalachian State
Second Team Preseason All-Southern Conference
P – Megen Smith – Georgia Southern
P – Kandice Irwin – Chattanooga
C – Jaimie Rao – Elon
1B – Brythe Blankenship – Furman
2B – Jacqueline Gonzalez – Elon
SS – Stephanie Cushing – Furman
3B – Toni Hutchison – Chattanooga
OF – Michelle Beasley – Georgia Southern
OF – Meredith Mielke – Furman
OF – Aaren Fisher – Samford
DP – Amber Hawkins – Western Carolina
UT – Mollie Fowler – Western Carolina
- UNCG -