RALEIGH, N.C. -- The reigning East Division Champion Meredith College softball Angels were selected in the USA South Preseason Coaches Poll to finish first again this year. With the 2017 Coach of the Year Kim Scavone at the helm for her eighth season, alongside nine senior players, the Avenging Angels collected six of nine first place votes with the other three votes casted for last year's tournament winner, the Averett Cougars.
Piedmont College was tabbed the West Division leader with six first place votes, and Maryville and Huntingdon received one vote apiece. Coaches may not vote for their own teams.
Two of Meredith's senior offensive leaders finished in the top-tier of the conference last spring and earned All-Region selections as a result. Haley Ervin led the conference with a .471 batting average on 40 hits in 85 at bats and ranked third with an on base percentage of .500. Third baseman Brittany Bucklin ranked tied for second with 45 runs batted in and tied for seventh with 55 hits.
Taylor Jackson ranks second all-time at Meredith with 36 career wins in her first three seasons, and she finished in a tie for fifth last season with 12 on 20 starts in 25 appearances. Jackson, Ervin, and Bucklin each earned conference honors and were joined by Erica Occena and Sarah Watson. Occena tallied a second-best 41 hits with a team leading 17 stolen bases, and Watson posted 37 hits with a slugging percentage of .476.
The Avenging Angels open the 2018 campaign at Virginia Wesleyan University February 17 and follow the next afternoon with a home doubleheader versus the Shaw Bears. Mark your calendar now with plans to follow the Angels this season.