Eureka slated eighth in SLIAC preseason softball poll

Eureka slated eighth in SLIAC preseason softball poll

CARLINVILLE, Ill. – The Eureka College softball team has been selected to finish eighth in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2016, according to a poll released Wednesday conducted by league head coaches. Five-time defending regular-season champion Fontbonne was chosen to repeat as the league winner.

The Griffins, who have also won six straight SLIAC Tournament crowns, received eight first-place votes for a point total of 72 in Wednesday's poll.  Greenville garnered 64 points for second place, including one first place vote, followed by Westminster in third place with 51 points. Spalding (50) and MacMurray (48) round out the top-5.

Webster (40 points) was pegged 6th, while Iowa Wesleyan received 27 points for a 7th-place slot in the voting.

Eureka (23 points) was eighth, followed by Blackburn (16) and Principia (14) to round out the poll.
Only nine coaches' votes tallied in the process due to the open head softball coach position at Blackburn.

The top four teams in the final SLIAC standings, excluding provisional NCAA Division III member Iowa Wesleyan, will qualify for the league tournament.  The double-elimination event is scheduled to begin May 5. The tournament champion will secure the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Four starters, including All-SLIAC selections Savanna Tapper (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria), Krysten Wallace(Bartonville, Ill./Limestone) and Kali George (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria), are back for fourth-year head coach Debi Neff.  The Red Devils finished the 2015 campaign with a 15-21 overall record and a 7-17 SLIAC mark.

The Red Devils will open the season in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic.

Team Total Points (1st Place Votes)
Fontbonne 72 (8)
Greenville 64 (1)
Westminster 51
Spalding 50
MacMurray 48
Webster 40
Iowa Wesleyan 27
Eureka 23
Blackburn 16
Principia 14