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BYU Named 2016 WCC Softball Favorites

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SAN BRUNO, Calif. – Brigham Young University has been tabbed by the league coaches to win the West Coast Conference Softball Championship this spring, it was announced by the league office Wednesday.

BYU earned top billing for the third consecutive season after collecting five of the six first-place votes and totaling a maximum 25 points in the poll. Coaches are not able to vote for their own teams.

The defending WCC Champion is coming off a 40-14 (13-2 WCC) record after capturing its 11th consecutive postseason bid that ended at the NCAA Regional Semifinal. Fourteen-year head coach Gordon Eakin returns 10 players from that squad, including All-American outfielder and reigning WCC Player of the year Gordy Bravo along with reigning WCC Pitcher o the Year McKenna Bull, whose 34 wins in 2015 ranked No. 2 in the NCAA. Bravo and Bull are joined on the preseason All-WCC team with senior third baseman Coco Tauali’I Bond and junior first baseman Ashley Thompson. Bond and Thompson were both All-WCC selections last year.

The University of Pacific tallied 19 points to garner the second spot in the survey. The Tigers ended the 2015 campaign with a 21-32 (5-10 WCC) record and are looking to return to the postseason for the first time since 2011. Pacific places senior Nicole Zapotoczny and sophomore Molly Bourne on the preseason All-WCC team.

Just two points separated Pacific from third-place Loyola Marymount. The Lions acquired 17 points in the preseason poll and will be under the guidance of first-year head coach Sami Strinz. Last season saw the Lions earn a second-place finish in the West Coast Conference with a 26-28 overall and 8-7 conference record. Junior pitcher Rachael Farrington, coming off of an All-WCC season, was selected to the preseason team alongside classmate Amanda Dirks and sophomore Alicia Brown.

San Diego (29-23, 8-7) garnered 14 points for fourth on the preseason poll, one year after earning their most wins in 15 seasons with 29 in 2015. Kailey Hill, the reigning WCC Freshman of the Year, was selected to the preseason All-WCC team.

Saint Mary’s (20-30, 4-8) was fifth with 10 points, and Santa Clara (15-35, 4-11) acquired five points to round out the six-team field. For the Gaels, senior shortstop Loralie Fitzpatrick and junior pitcher Katie Moss were selected to the preseason All-WCC team. Santa Clara was represented by sophomore outfielder Ellie Fisher and senior shortstop Cassandra Padilla.

All six West Coast Conference teams open the season next weekend. For a complete interactive schedule, please visit WCCsports.com, and follow @WCCsports on Twitter for updates throughout the season.

2016 WEST COAST CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL

Team (First Place Votes) Points
BYU (5) 25
Pacific (1) 19
Loyola Marymount 17
San Diego 14
Saint Mary's 10
Santa Clara 5

2016 PRESEASON ALL-WEST COAST CONFERENCE TEAM

Player School Year Position
Molly Bourne Pacific So. INF/OF
Gordy Bravo Brigham Young Sr. OF
Alicia Brown Loyola Marymount So. 3B
Amanda Dirks Loyola Marymount Jr. OF
Ellie Fisher Santa Clara So. OF
Loralie Fitzpatrick Saint Mary's Sr. SS
Kailey Hill San Diego So. UT
Cassandra Padilla Santa Clara Sr. SS
Ashley Thompson Brigham Young Jr. 1B
Coco Tauali'i Bond Brigham Young Sr. 3B
Nicole Zapotoczny Pacific Sr. 2B
Pitcher School Year P
McKenna Bull Brigham Young Jr. RHP
Rachael Farrington Loyola Marymount Jr. LHP
Katie Moss Saint Mary's Jr. RHP