Softball Picked Second in Horizon League Coaches Preseason Poll

Softball Picked Second in Horizon League Coaches Preseason Poll

The Youngstown State softball team was predicted to finish second in the Horizon League in a preseason poll of the league's head coaches, the league announced on Wednesday.

UIC, the 2017 regular season and tournament champion, was picked the win the league with 81 total points followed by the Penguins with 71. Wright State and Detroit Mercy were picked third and fourth with 59 and 54 points, respectively.

Oakland came in fifth with 41 points while IUPUI and Northern Kentucky ranked sixth and seventh with 35 and 31 points, repsectively.

Rounding out the preseason standings were Green Bay at eighth with 19 points and Cleveland State at ninth with 14 points.

The Penguins finished last season with an overall record of 31-28 and finished second in the Horizon League with a school-best 17-7 mark. Youngstown State also returns 14 letterwinners and seven starters from last year's squad that advanced to the Horizon League Championship game. 

Leading the Penguins in 2018 are a pair of All-Horizon League outfielders in seniors Hannah Lucas and Cali Mikovich. Lucas earned First-Team All-Horizon League honors after leading the team with a .339 overall batting average and a .416 average in league play. She also swiped 20 base.
 
Mikovich, a two-time all-league performer, ranks in the top 10 in seven different career statistical categories and was named second-team all-league and all-tournament team last season.
 
Sophomore Maddi Lusk, 2017 Co-Freshman of the Year, and junior Paige Geanangel lead the Penguins' pitching staff. Lusk won 17 games last season and Geanangel posted 17 as a freshman  2016.
 
Senior four-year starter Stevie Taylor also returns for the Penguins.
 
Head Coach Brian Campbell needs 14 victories to earn the 500th of his career and just seven more wins to become YSU all-time winningest coach.
 
Youngstown State opens the 2018 season against Hampton, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. at the Gardner-Webb Tournament in Boiling Springs, N.C.

2018 Horizon League Preseason Coaches Poll
1. UIC, (9 first-place votes), 81 points
2. Youngstown State, 71
3. Wright State, 59
4. Detroit Mercy, 54
5. Oakland, 41
6. IUPUI, 35
7. Northern Kentucky, 31
8. Green Bay, 19
9. Cleveland State, 14