IRVING, Texas — As the 2017 WKU Softball season quickly approaches, Conference USA has released its Preseason Coaches Poll as well as the players selected to the Preseason All-Conference squad. For the third time in as many years in C-USA, Head Coach Amy Tudor’s squad has been predicted to be one of the league’s top-10 team finishers.
Entering their third season in C-USA, the Hilltoppers were picked to finish 10th as the six returners from the 2016 squad are joined by 10 newcomers on The Hill. The Red and White will look to build on their 8-13 record in league play from a year ago, where the squad won at least one contest against six of the seven conference opponents it encountered.
WKU was predicted to finish in 10th place in the league’s preseason poll announced by the league office Wednesday morning. Florida Atlantic took the top spot in the poll with 10 first-place votes followed by UAB and Marshall (one first place vote). Marshall’s senior Morgan Zerkle was selected as the 2017 Preseason Player of the Year while FAU’s Kylee Hanson was named the Preseason Pitcher of the Year for the second-straight season.
Coach Tudor and the Hilltopper unit will take on Stephen F. Austin in the Mississippi State-hosted Bulldog Kickoff on Friday, Feb. 10, in Starkville, Mississippi, to get the 2017 season underway. Following five games in Starkville, WKU returns to The Hill to host a pair of tournaments that include nine-straight home contests for the Red and White.
Predicted Order of Finish
1. Florida Atlantic (10)
3. Marshall (1)
4. Louisiana Tech
5. Southern Miss
11. Middle Tennessee
12. North Texas
2017 Preseason Player of the Year
Morgan Zerkle, Marshall, Sr.
2017 Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Kylee Hanson, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
Preseason All-Conference Team
Pitcher: Kylee Hanson, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
Pitcher: Amanda Wilson, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
Pitcher: Jordan Dixon, Marshall, Sr.
Catcher: Taylor McCord, Marshall, Jr.
Catcher: Alex Miller, Florida Atlantic, Jr.
Infielder: Stephanie Texeira, FIU, Sr.
Infielder: Morgan Zerkle, Marshall, Sr.
Infielder: Kellie Schkade, North Texas, Sr.
Infielder: Emily Lochten, Florida Atlantic, Jr.
Infielder: Courtney Clayton, UTEP, Jr.
Outfielder: Madisyn Palmer, Florida Atlantic, So.
Outfielder: Gabby Spallone, FIU, Sr.
Outfielder: Shaelynn Braxton, Marshall, Sr.
Outfielder: Precious Birdsong, Middle Tennessee, Jr.
DP/Utility: Kaitlyn Ryder, UTEP, Jr.
How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUSoftball, Instagram @WKU_Softball and Facebook @WKUSoftball.