BYU Named 2018 WCC Softball Favorites
Cougars Picked By Coaches To Win Fifth Consecutive WCC Championship
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, ranked No. 19 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Preseason Top 25, earned top billing for the fifth 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 46-13 (14-1 WCC) record after capturing its 13th consecutive postseason bid that ended at the NCAA Regional. Sixteen-year head coach Gordon Eakin returns eight starters and six All-WCC players from that squad, including reigning WCC Player of the year Cailtyn Larsen Alldredge along with reigning WCC Co-Freshman of the Year Rylee Jensen. Alldredge and Jensen are joined on the preseason All-WCC team with senior shortstop Alexa Strid, junior catcher Libby Sugg and sophomore pitcher Arissa Paulson. Sugg was also named Wednesday to the 2018 USA Softball Preseason Player of the Year Watch List.
Loyola Marymount and Pacific tied for second in the preseason poll with 19 points each. The Pacific Tigers earned the final first-place vote in the poll and return the WCC Co-Freshman of the Year in Hailey Reed along with fellow preseason team members Sydney Lahners and Marissa Young after a season that saw the team from Stockton compete in the postseason for the first time since the 2011 season with an invitation to the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC).
The Lions, under third-year coach Sami Strinz, matched Pacific with 19 points and are represented by senior outfielder Brooke Christensen, senior catcher Irma Sanchez and junior pitcher Hannah Bandimere on the preseason All-WCC team.
San Diego (22-24, 8-7 WCC) was picked fourth with 13 points and placed junior outfielder Taylor Spence on the preseason team. The Toreros also advanced to the postseason in 2017 with a bid to the NISC, the first postseason appearance in program history.
Saint Mary’s (17-31, 3-12) and Santa Clara (12-35, 4-11) round out the six-team preseason poll. The Gaels were picked fifth with nine points and placed sophomore Nikki Alexander and senior Hailey Sparacino on the preseason team. The Broncos acquired five points and are represented by senior Ellie Fisher on the preseason team.
A total of 12 field players were selected to the preseason team due to a tie in voting.
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.
2018 WEST COAST CONFERENCE SOFTBALL PRESEASON POLL
Team (First Place Votes) - Points
- Brigham Young (5) - 25
- Loyola Marymount - 19
- Pacific (1) - 19
- San Diego - 13
- Saint Mary’s - 9
- Santa Clara - 5
2018 ALL-WCC PRESEASON SOFTBALL TEAM
Name Institution Yr. Pos.
Nikki Alexander Saint Mary’s Soph. 2B/SS
Caitlyn Alldredge Brigham Young Sr. 3B
Brooke Christensen Loyola Marymount Sr. OF
Ellie Fisher Santa Clara Sr. OF
Rylee Jensen Brigham Young Soph. OF
Sydney Lahners Pacific Sr. 1B
Hailey Reed Pacific Soph. P/OF
Irma Sanchez Loyola Marymount Sr. C
Hailey Sparacino Saint Mary’s Sr. UT
Taylor Spence San Diego Jr. OF
Alexa Strid Brigham Young Sr. SS
Libby Sugg Brigham Young Jr. C
Name Institution Yr. Pos.
Hannah Bandimere Loyola Marymount Jr. RHP
Arissa Paulson Brigham Young Soph. RHP
Marissa Young Pacific Sr. RHP