March 7, 2018

Husson Softball Headlines 2018 NAC Coaches' Preseason Poll

Husson has been selected the favorite in the 2018 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) softball preseason coaches' poll. The top-three teams in the poll were only separated by six points, as the Eagles totaled 44 points with three first-place votes, Thomas, the 2017 Champion, took second just three points behind Husson after claiming two first-place votes and Castleton, the 2017 runner-up, placed third with 38 points and the two remaining first-place votes.

New England College was voted fourth with 31 points, UMaine-Farmington placed fifth with 21 points, Johnson took sixth with 14 points, and Lyndon rounded out the poll in seventh with seven points.

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head softball coaches.

2018 NAC Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll

   Team                    Points (First Place Votes)
 1. Husson 44 (3)
 2. Thomas 41 (2)
 3. Castleton    38 (2)
 4.  New England College  31
 5. UMaine-Farmington 21
 6. Johnson  14
 7. Lyndon  7


The top-four teams in the 2018 poll competed for the NAC Title a season ago. Husson claimed the top seed and hosting rights for the tournament after finishing the regular season with an 11-1 record in NAC play. Castleton claimed the No. 2 seed after going 10-2, while Thomas finished 7-5 for the No. 3 seed and New England College ended 2017 with a 6-6 conference mark to claim the No. 4 seed.

Day 1 of the 2017 tournament saw the top-seeded Eagles claim a 3-2 win over the Pilgrims in Game 1, while the No. 3 seeded Terriers earned a 5-1 upset over the second-seeded Spartans. Game 3 saw Castleton eliminate NEC from postseason play with a 3-1 victory and Thomas gave Husson its first loss of the tournament in Game 4, 5-3, and secured a spot in the championship game.

In an elimination game to start day 2, Castleton scored four first-inning runs en route to a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Husson, advancing the Spartans into the championship game. In Game 6, Thomas and Castleton traded zeros until the home half of the sixth inning in which Thomas went up 2-0 and then went on to hold Castleton scoreless in the last frame to capture the 2017 NAC Softball Title.

The Terriers went on to participate in the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament after earning the NAC's automatic bid. In the opening round of the regional tournament, Thomas fell to Williams 6-2, a team that made it to the finals of the 2017 national championship in Oklahoma City. The Terriers then fell to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in the elimination game in extra innings, 5-0.

Throughout the next two weeks all seven NAC softball teams will have kicked off their quest for the 2018 conference title. The top-four teams in the NAC regular-season standings will qualify for the conference tournament, which gets underway Friday, May 4, and will continue through Sunday, May 6.

Click HERE to view the 2018 NAC Softball composite schedule.

2018 NAC Softball Previews

**For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the softball section of each school's website.


1. Husson (28-12, 11-1 NAC) head coach Terren Allen returns for her fourth season at the helm of the Eagles after leading her team to the program's 13th 20-win season year ago and earning her 2017 NAC Coach of the Year. The 2018 squad will be led by 2018 FPN Preseason All-American, 2017 NAC Rookie of the Year, 2017 All-NAC First Team, and NFCA All-New England Third Team selection, Bri Brochu (Pittston, Maine; pictured right). Also returning for the Eagles are Tamara Aunchman (Panton, Vt.), a 2017 All-NAC First Team and All-ECAC First Team selection, Jen Jones (Acton, Maine), a 2017 All-NAC First Team choice and second team All-NAC honoree junior Olivia Smith (Calais, Maine). Expectations run high once again as the Eagles embark on their 42nd season looking to capture the program's eighth NAC Championship in the last ten years and will open up the season versus Saint Benedict and Hiram on March 5 in Tucson, Ariz. 



2. Thomas (14-23, 7-5 NAC) looks to defend its 2017 NAC Title under the guidance of tenth-year head coach Terry Parlin. The team returns three All-Conference Second Team members in juniors Katie Taylor (Lebanon, Maine), Lexi Colpack (Franklin, N.H.), and 2017 NAC Tournament MVP Sydney LeBourveau (Jericho, Vt.; pictured right). LeBourveau went 4-3 on the mound in conference play during the regular season with a 2.07 ERA and followed up with a 3-0 record in three complete games in the NAC Tournament. In addition to returning six starters, the Terriers have added three rookie pitchers to their staff with Katlyn Coulter (Jefferson, N.H.), Breanna Whitmarsh (Puyallup, Wash.), and Camille Coyne (Valley Falls, N.Y.). Thomas will open the season on Saturday, March 10, with a doubleheader against UMaine-Presque Isle at the University of Maine Dome. 



3. Castleton (20-10-1, 10-2 NAC)
 enters 2018 looking for its second-conference title in the past three seasons after falling in the NAC Championship title game a year ago. In his sixth season leading the Spartans, Eric Ramey will rely on veterans Taylor Paquette (Addison, Vt.) and Timi Carone (Bomoseen, Vt.; pictured right). Carone comes in as the reigning NAC Player of the Year after putting together a .382/.430/.510 slash line with 39 hits and 22 RBI. The senior outfielder scored 30 runs and stole 13 bases, as well. On the mound, Paquette went 11-4 a year ago with a 2.46 ERA over 94 innings pitched, while being named to the All-NAC Second Team. Castleton is placing its focus on qualifying for the conference tournament and then making another push for a crown in 2018. 



4. New England College (17-21, 6-6 NAC) will look to make another appearance in the NAC Tournament after losing the team's first two games in last year's appearance. Head coach Ben Master returns for his sixth season in the NEC dugout and will lead a young roster. The Pilgrims have just one senior on the roster, shortstop Rachel Kerrigan (Hyde Park, Mass.; pictured right). Kerrigan made 33 starts last season and had 11 hits. NEC also returns junior pitcher Gabrielle Marcheschi (St. James, N.Y.), who compiled a 3.99 ERA in 91 innings pitched and also batted at .327 with 32 hits including nine doubles, a triple, and two home runs. The Pilgrims kicked off the 2018 season in Clermont, Florida on Saturday, March 3, against Rosemont College. NEC opens NAC play at Castleton on April 3. 




5. UMaine-Farmington (11-21, 5-7 NAC) will be led by Kat McKay, who enters her second season as head coach of the Beavers. Kiana Thompson (Industry, Maine) returns for her senior year bringing her speed and leadership to the outfield, while Tasha DeRoshe (Peru, Maine) and Margaret Fogarty (Auburn, Maine) also return for their senior campaigns bringing strength to the lineup. Junior Kailyn Hill (Lisbon, Maine; pictured right) returns to the circle for the Beavers leader the defensive charge, while junior Ashley Gleason (Scarborough, Maine) brings quick hands and good foot work to the infield. The Beavers look to progress on the success that they found in the 2017 season. Bringing in eight new faces to the program, the team will be young, but eager to see what they can do. Defensively, the Beavers will show discipline and focus on the fundamentals while offensively set their sights on getting the ball in play to put runs on the board. 




6. Johnson (4-18, 3-9 NAC) will be led by veteran head coach Robert Gervais. The Badgers return senior captains Abby McRae (Milton, Vt.; pictured right), Kaitlynn Woodward (White River, Vt.) and Kasie Craig (Windham, Maine). The Badgers enter a rebuilding year with several new players at key positions. Johnson will look to improve each game and make a playoff push. 




7. Lyndon (0-22, 0-12 NAC) will be guided by first year head coach Amanda McLean. Top returnees include Hannah Choninere (Highgate, Vt.; pictured right), Alexis Britch (Essex Junction, Vt.) and Kiya DeWitt (Pittsburg, N.H.). Amber Roberts (Berlin, N.H.), Cassie Black (Tolland, Conn.), and Charlotte Winslow (Pittsford, Vt.) are a few of the promising newcomers that will make a huge impact on the program this year. The Hornets are looking to be competitive in the NAC this season.