SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Redshirt junior Kaitlin Merkt and sophomore Alex Emeterio were named to the Preseason All-Southern Conference Second Team and the Spartans were picked to finish sixth in the preseason coaches' poll, the league office announced Monday.
Three-time defending champion Chattanooga was selected to win the league, getting eight first-place votes and 64 points in the poll. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or players.
Appalachian State catcher/third baseman Katie Boyd was selected the league's preseason player of the year, while Georgia Southern's Brianna Streetmon was picked as the preseason pitcher of the year.
Merkt, a shortstop from Irvine, Calif., was a second-team all-conference pick last season. She hit .317 in 2009, leading UNCG with six home runs and a .574 slugging percentage. Merkt also drove in 20 runs and committed just four errors.
Emeterio was a SoCon All-Freshman Team pick last season, when she led UNCG in batting average (.327), on-base percentage (.435), walks (31) and triples (three). The Murrieta, Calif., first baseman was also second on the squad with 11 doubles and 25 RBI.
As a team, UNCG went 26-33 overall and 9-12 in the SoCon last season, finishing seventh in the league.
Following Chattanooga in the preseason poll was 2009 SoCon tournament runner-up Georgia Southern, which earned 56 points and the remaining first-place vote. College of Charleston followed in third with 47 points, while Appalachian State was picked fourth with 43. Samford was sixth with 35, followed by UNCG (27), Furman (25), Elon (14) and Western Carolina (13).
The Spartans kick off the 2010 campaign this weekend at the JU Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., where they will face Virginia Tech and host Jacksonville University on Friday at 12:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., respectively.
Team (1st-place votes) Points
1. Chattanooga (8) 64
2. Georgia Southern (1) 56
3. College of Charleston 47
4. Appalachian State 43
5. Samford 35
6. UNC Greensboro 27
7. Furman 25
8. Elon 14
9. Western Carolina 13
Preseason Player of the Year
Katie Boyd, C/3B, Appalachian State
Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Brianna Streetmon, Georgia Southern
Preseason First-Team All-Conference
P - Brooke Loudermilk, Chattanooga
P - Brianna Streetmon, Georgia Southern
C - Brittany Eason, Chattanooga
1B - Michelle Fuzzard, Chattanooga
2B - Tiffany Baker, Chattanooga
SS - Nina Iduate, Georgia Southern
3B - Kristie Shifflett, College of Charleston
OF - Marie Fogle, Georgia Southern
OF - Lyndsey Stiles, Chattanooga
OF - Laci Upchurch, Chattanooga
DP - Amber Hawkins, Western Carolina
UT - Katie Boyd, Appalachian State
Preseason Second-Team All-Conference
P - Lana Mackey, Furman
P - Stephanie Royall, Samford
C - Kaitlyn Piazzolla, Elon
1B - Alex Emeterio, UNC Greensboro
2B - Amber Shifflett, College of Charleston
SS - Kaitlin Merkt, UNC Greensboro
3B - Jenny Side, Georgia Southern
OF - Katie Forbes, College of Charleston
OF - Kaiti Kelley, Chattanooga
OF - Sarah Rappe, Appalachian State
DP - Megen Smith, Georgia Southern
UT - Robyn Harmon, Samford
- UNCG -