Tech Softball Picked Fifth in SSC Poll
By Florida Tech // January 21, 2014
Tampa enters as favorite
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — With 16 days left until Florida Tech opens its softball season, the Sunshine State Conference Office announced the league’s preseason poll on Thursday and the Panthers are picked to finish fifth and Florida Tech received 32 points, which was 15 points fewer than fourth-place Barry and five more than sixth-place Nova Southeastern.
Tampa will enter the 2014 season as the favorite by the slimmest of margins. The Spartans garnered 58 points and three first-place votes. Saint Leo was just one point behind at 57 points and carried four first-place votes. At 52 points, Rollins claimed the other two first-place nods and is predicted to finish third.
Barry, FIT and Nova Southeastern are expected to place fourth through sixth, in order. Florida Southern, Lynn and Eckerd are picked to round out the conference standings when the season comes to a close.
HEAD COACH VAL SILVESTRINI ENTERS HER FIFTH SEASON
Head coach Val Silvestrini returns for her fifth season at the helm. She will be flanked this season by assistant coaches Shellie Raymond, Sarah Oram and student assistant Lindsy Dugan.
Silvestrini returns nine players from last year’s squad, including All-SSC First Team member Elaine Brown. Brown, entering her sophomore season, batted .349 with 53 hits, 19 walks and 20 stolen bases in 47 games as a freshman. Amanda Bueno and Kelsey Donahue will look to provide leadership as the team’s seniors.
Entering their first season in a Panther uniform will be 11 newcomers, four of which have previously played college softball. Those four include junior Elizabeth Eby (Seminole State), junior Brigit Godfrey (College of Sequoias/College of Southern Nevada), sophomore Rachel Ionata (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) and junior Nicole Miller (Indian River State).
The Panthers are set to play 24 home games this spring at Nancy Bottge Field starting with the FIT Softball Tournament on Saturday Feb. 1. FIT will host Webber International and Fort Valley State in a two-day, three-team tournament. The season and tournament begin with the Panthers taking on Webber International at 10 a.m.
2014 Sunshine State Conference Preseason Softball Poll
1 – Tampa, 58 (3)
2 – Saint Leo, 57 (4)
3 – Rollins, 52 (2)
4 – Barry, 47
5 – Florida Tech, 32
6 – Nova Southeastern, 27
7 – Florida Southern, 26
8 – Lynn, 15
9 – Eckerd, 10