Two-time defending champion Christopher Newport was selected as the favorite to claim conference hardware once again this spring, as the Captains received five first-place votes and totaled 47 points to sit atop the 2016 CAC Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Salisbury earned the remaining three first-place votes and finished narrowly behind CNU in second place with 45 points.
Frostburg State, which has collected a third-place regular season finish each of the past two seasons, was once again picked to finish third with 37 points. Mary Washington totaled 29 points to claim fourth in the poll, while York rounded out the top five with 26 points. Wesley was sixth with 18 points, followed by Penn State Harrisburg (15 points) and Southern Virginia (7 points).
That CNU and Salisbury headline the preseason poll is no surprise, as the two squads have met in the CAC Championship and NCAA Super Regional each of the last two seasons. Last spring, CNU defeated the Sea Gulls in the CAC Championship for its second conference crown in a row, before Salisbury got revenge in the NCAA Super Regional round to advance to the NCAA National Championship round for the third straight season. The Sea Gulls made it to the final four teams before being eliminated by eventual national runner-up Texas-Tyler.
Both the Sea Gulls and Captains enter the year near the top of the national rankings, as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) preseason national rankings have Salisbury ranked No. 2 and CNU at No. 12.
Two CAC squads began their 2016 campaigns last weekend, with most teams set to begin the year in the next week or two.
The regular season will culminate with the top five teams advancing to the home field of the regular season champion April 21-23 for the CAC Championship Tournament.
2016 CAC Softball Preseason Poll
1. Christopher Newport (5 first-place votes) 47 points
2. Salisbury (3 first-place votes) 45 points
3. Frostburg State 37 points
4. Mary Washington 29 points
5. York 26 points
6. Wesley 18 points
7. Penn State Harrisburg 15 points
8. Southern Virginia 7 points