GVSU & Tiffin Tabbed to Win North and South Titles, Respectively, in 2012 GLIAC Softball Coaches’ Preseason Poll

2012 GLIAC Softball Preview

BAY CITY, Mich. – The head softball coaches of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) chose Grand Valley State University and Tiffin University to win the league's 2012 North Division and South Division titles, respectively.

2012 GLIAC Softball Coaches' Preseason Poll

North Division

Rank

Team

Points

1)

Grand Valley State (4)

24

2)

Saginaw Valley State (2)

22

3)

Ferris State

16

4)

Northwood

14

5)

Hillsdale

9

6)

Lake Superior State

5

South Division

Rank

Team

Points

1)

Tiffin (4)

23

2)

Ashland (2)

22

3)

Wayne State

18

4)

Findlay

11

 

Ohio Dominican

11

6)

Lake Erie

5

This year's crop of GLIAC Softball talent will try to duplicate to Conference's recent success that includes Saginaw Valley State University's trip to the NCAA Division II Softball Championship last season. League teams will battle for supremacy throughout the regular season before they travel to Findlay, Ohio for the annual GLIAC Softball Tournament (April 27-29) at the Marathon Diamonds.

Grand Valley State University was picked atop the North Division with 24 points and four of sixfirst-place votes while Tiffin University was picked first in the South Division with 23 points and four first-place nods.

In the North Division, Saginaw Valley State was second with 22 points and two first-place votes, Ferris State University was third with 16 points, followed by Northwood University in fourth with 14 points. Hillsdale College was fifth with nine points and Lake Superior State University was sixth with five points.

In the South Division, Ashland University was picked second with 22 points and two first-place votes, and Wayne State University was third with 18 points. The University of Findlay and Ohio Dominican University tied for fourth place with 11 points, while Lake Erie College was picked sixth with five points.

 

 

Previews are listed below in projected order of finish in the 2012 GLIAC Softball Coaches Poll:


NORTH DIVISION

  

1. Grand Valley State

Overview:  Grand Valley State enters 2012 after a highly successful 2011 season in which the team captured the most wins (41) since 2003 and seventh-most in school history. The Lakers (41-16, 23-9 GLIAC) led all of Division II in batting average (.366), slugging percentage (.579), and homeruns (76). Those 76 homers are a new school and GLIAC record, while GVSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007.

 Junior designated player Katie Martin had a tremendous 2011 campaign in which she was named the Daktronics National Player of the Year and a First Team All-American by both the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and Daktronics. She hit .468 with 20 homers and 65 RBI, while adding 18 doubles, 52 runs, a school-record 87 hits, and 167 total bases - all while being walked 30 times.

Sophomore twins Briauna and Brittany Taylor were Daktronics Honorable Mention All-American selections, as Briauna (SS) hit .421 with 59hits, 37 runs, six homers, and 35 RBI and Brittany (OF) owned a .400 batting average with 50 hits, 41 runs, seven homers, and 34 RBI. GLIAC Freshman of the Year Miranda Cleary hit .351 with 59 hits, 19 home runs, and 52 RBI. The Lakers bring back their top pitcher in senior Andrea Nicholson, who was 20-8 with a 2.81 ERA and tossed 18 complete games.

Head coach Doug Woods enters his 22nd season with a career record of 768-359-3. After last season, Woods and his staff were named the NFCA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Woods did not lose a senior to graduation and returns all 18 players from the 2011 squad, plus two incoming players.

Coaching: Doug Woods is in his 22nd season in the dugout for Grand Valley State.

2011 Record: 41-16 overall, 23-9 GLIAC

 

2. Saginaw Valley State

Overview:  The 2012 SVSU Cardinals will start the season ranked No. 4 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Top 25, and look to return to the NCAA Division II World Series after an incredible run in 2011. Interim Head Coach Tim Rousse guided Saginaw Valley to a 42-18 record, and the second appearance in NCAA Championships in school history. SVSU will also be looking to make a school record fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason.

Rousse and the Cardinals welcome four players back that garnered All-GLIAC honors in 2011; Seniors Ashley Coffin, Natalie Wellman and Kalie Burdick will lead an experienced squad in 2012. Coffin appeared in and started 58 games for the Cardinals last season, recording 61 hits on the season with 11 doubles, five home runs and a triple. Wellman was the only Cardinal to start all 60 games during the 2011 season. She posted a .346 batting average, good for third on the team. She also led the team with 65 hits and 12 doubles.  Burdick Appeared in 50 games and recorded 43 hits, ten doubles and four home runs. She scored 16 times and drove in 21 runs on the season. She finished 2011 with a .352 batting average, good for fourth on the team. Medina, one of the best freshman in the GLIAC last season, will look to build on a season in which she garnered All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors and Daktronics First Team All-Region honors. She played in all 60 games, starting in 59. She led the team with a .376 batting average and 65 hits and was second on the team with 42 runs batted in and 39 runs scored. She also recorded eight doubles, one triple and seven home runs on the season.

The Cardinals will have to replace GLIAC “Pitcher of the Year” Jade Fulton in 2012 and will look to a trio of pitchers in returners Alexa Gehrls and Jill Kaltz and newcomer Jillian Williamson to fill the void left by one of the best pitchers ever to toe the rubber in the GLIAC. Gehrls appeared in 23 games in the circle in 2011, starting 19 of them. Gehrls pitched 93.1 innings with 99 strikeouts and a 2.99 earned run average, while posting a 10-5 overall record on the season with six complete games. Kaltz was 1-2 overall in eight games played. Williamson, a junior transfer from Eastern Michigan, will be looked to add stability to a young staff.

Coaching: Tim Rousse is in his second season as head softball coach at Saginaw Valley State.

2011 Record: 42-18 overall, 22-9 GLIAC


 

3. Ferris State

Overview: Fifteen returnees and eight starters are back for the Bulldogs, who will be under the guidance of first-year coach Dawn Thompson. She takes over following longtime head coach Keri Becker's departure. The Bulldogs should be poised to make a run at yet another league crown as three players who earned All-GLIAC accolades last year are back in the lineup. The schedule starts with the annual spring break trip to Florida before the Bulldogs return home in March.

The returning All-GLIAC players include the reigning GLIAC Player of the Year in senior first baseman Chelsea Morris, who drove in 46 runs and had a team-leading 51 hits a season ago with nine homers.

Also back is senior outfielder Stephanie Dusendang, a All-GLIAC Second Team pick last year, along with junior designated player Lindsey Pettit, who garned conference honorable mention accolades.

Last season, Pettit hit a squad-best .362 for the year with 34 hits and 25 RBI's. Junior Dana Bowler is the team's top returning pitcher after posting a 17-10 mark last year with 125 strikeouts.

Coaching: Dawn Thompson is in her 1st season as head coach of the Bulldogs.

2011 Record: 24-23 overall, 18-12 GLIAC

 

 

4. Northwood

Overview:  Hopes are high for the Northwood University softball team heading into the 2012 season. The Timberwolves return 13 players and seven starters for head coach Meaggan Pettipiece, who has a 111-111-1 record after five seasons as NU’s head coach.

All seven of the Northwood starters who are back for Northwood are field players, led by a pair of First Team All-GLIAC performers in Marisa Borkowski and Andrea Martin. Borkowski earned First Team All-Region honors after playing multiple positions a year ago, hitting .363 with a team-best .484 on-base percentage. Martin started all 47 games at second base, batting .322 with 26 RBI’s. Last year’s strong freshmen class are all back as well, with shortstop Stacey Klonowski, Sam Zaborowski, Brittany Merner, Erica Weiler and Kelsey Beck are all back after having a big impact in their freshman seasons.

The area where Northwood will be looking for a new leader is in the pitching circle. Three pitchers return from a year ago, but they combined for just five of the Timberwolves’ 29 victories a year ago. Olivia Nicholas, Catie Kaliszuk and Lindsey Martin all will be counted on this season, as will newcomers Emily Somerville and Maddison Sebald.

Coaching: Meaggan Pettipiece is in her sixth season as the head coach of Northwood University’s softball program.

2011 Record: 26-20-1 overall, 19-12-1 GLIAC

 

 

5. Hillsdale

Overview:  First-year head coach Joe Abraham takes over the Charger program, hoping to lead it to a third consecutive berth in the GLIAC Tournament in 2012. The team lost just two players from the 2011 squad, and welcomes some talented freshmen to the lineup. Seniors Jennifer Berlet, Allison Hetrick, Laura Homan and Jessica Guertin all return for their fourth seasons starting for the Chargers. Juniors Taylor Schulty and Kate Hoop return for their third year starting, giving Hillsdale the most on-the-field experience in several seasons. Newcomers Katie Ardrey and Jessica Day are expected to add speed and pitching depth to the lineup.

Coaching: Joe Abraham is in his first season as the head softball coach at Hillsdale College.

2011 Record: 16-31 overall, 12-18 GLIAC

 

6. Lake Superior State

Overview: Lake Superior State, headed by second-year coach Lori Shimasaki, returns six starters and eight letter winners from last year’s squad, which finished 5-28 overall and 2-24 in the GLIAC in 2011. LSSU’s top-returning pitcher is senior Jillian Willette (Escanaba, Mich.), who was 2-5 with a 4.48 earned run average. Junior Christine Larkin (Troy, Mich.) was 1-6 with a 4.65 ERA. Sophomore Haleigh Edgar (Tecumseh, Mich.), a second baseman and slapper, is LSSU’s top-returning hitter. She batted .257 and led the team in hits with 27. Heather Cuthrell (Waterford, Mich.), a sophomore left fielder, batted .237 with two home runs and a team-leading 17 RBI last year.

LSSU’s other two returning starters are sophomore shortstop Dani Reveley (St. Clair Shores, Mich.) and sophomore pitcher/first baseman Felicia Gingrich (St. Johns, Mich.).

Coaching: Lori Shimasaki is entering her second season as head coach of Lake Superior State University.

2011 Record: 5-28 overall, 2-24 GLIAC

 


SOUTH DIVISION


1. Tiffin

Overview: Tiffin University (39-14, 26-6 GLIAC) returns 8 starters to a team that won the regular season and GLIAC tournament titles in 2011. The Dragons are led by 13 returners, including infield standouts Meagan Baird and Lauren Mazzuca. Stephanie Bobotas, Jessie Creakbaum and Amanda Temple return in the outfield while catchers Lesy Herbert and Caitlin Houk also return. Abbey Cooksey will handle most of the pitching duties for the Dragons in 2012.

Coaching: Jeff Nickerson is in his fourth season as head coach of Tiffin. In eight years as a head coach, overall, he is 263-185.

2011 Record: 39-14 overall, 26-6 GLIAC


2. Ashland

Overview:  Ashland returns its entire infield and pitcher Emlyn Knerem (26-9, 1.70 ERA), who has been AU's top pitcher for the last three years. Third baseman Alyssa Kelley is coming off a year that saw her hit .377 with three homers and 33 RBI. Shortstop Bri Woody had a career year in 2011, hitting .340 with four homers and 33 RBI. Catcher Tawna Garver is one of the top players in the region and hit .276 with three homers and 25 RBI. The major challenge is replacing the entire outfield and finding a way to replace Logan Hursey's bat (.366, 10 homers, 39 RBI). AU has advanced to the NCAA playoffs for three consecutive years.

Coaching: Sheilah Gulas owns a record of 527-252 through 15 seasons at Ashland and has a record of 730-376 overall in 24 seasons as a head coach.

2011 Record: 33-19 overall, 21-7 GLIAC

 


3. Wayne State

Overview:  Wayne State had a very uncharacteristic season a year ago, finishing seventh in the GLIAC, but the Warriors hope to return to the success they had in 2010, highlighted by a trip to the D-II World Series. Head Coach Gary Bryce enters his 31st season at the helm. He has lofty goals for this season, but with some added depth in the pitching rotation the Warriors look for a strong showing in the GLIAC in 2012.

After spending most of her time in the outfield the last two years, senior two-time All-American Alison Allen (Redford, MI/Farmington Hills Mercy) will be moved around the field in 2012. She is coming off a record-breaking season and is already the Warriors’ career leader in home runs and slugging percentage.

Senior Rebecca Ryan (Westland, Mich./Dearborn Divine Child) is inching ever closer to the Wayne State career record for putouts at first base and is the team’s second-best returning hitter.  Rebecca Stanley (Waterloo, Ont./Waterloo C.I.) will most likely start at the hot corner, and she brings a .330 career average in 176 starts.  The middle infield will be highlighted by senior shortstop Lauren Histed (Shelby Twp., Mich./Utica).

The Warriors play a tough schedule in 2012, and that’s just the way Bryce likes it. WSU opens the season Feb. 17-19 at the Charger Chillout in Decatur, Ala. where they will see four regional foes.

Coaching: Gary Bryce is in his 31st season as head coach of Wayne’s softball program.

2011 Record: 30-25-1 overall, 16-13-1 GLIAC

 

T4. Findlay

Overview: The Oilers graduated several potent bats, but plan to field a young and talented team. Two juniors, pitcher/DP Brittany Dauterman (.400, 5 hr, 28 rbi) and leftfielder Jenna Motuza (.326, 41 rs) will lead the offense, along with sophomore second baseman Tori Allen (.331. 4 hr, 33 rbi). Sophomore Tawna Whited (7-4, 4.44 era) will lead the pitching staff, and freshman Grace Ammons could see significant pitching time.

Junior first baseman Carly Borders (.294) and sophomores Courtney Dwyer (center field) and Emily Reynolds (shortstop) will be counted-on more heavily this season for a UF squad that finished 23-24-1 overall last Spring. Junior catcher Lauren Mathias will lend experience to the catching position.

Coaching: Ron Ammons is in his tenth season as the head coach of the Oilers.

2011 Record: 23-24-1 overall, 11-21 GLIAC

 

T4. Ohio Dominican

Overview: The Ohio Dominican softball team welcomes back eight letterwinners and seven starters as the Panthers begin their second campaign in the GLIAC. In its inaugural season of Division II, ODU finished 14-36 overall and 9-23 in conference play, highlighted by wins in seven of the final 12 contests, including an upset of No. 25 Tiffin and four-game series sweep of Lake Erie. Head coach Marcella Vanlandingham returns to the helm for her 17th season with the Panthers. Already the program’s all-time winningest coach, Vanlandingham enters the 2012 season just 10 wins shy of the 500 plateau, sporting a 490-368 career mark.

Leading the Panthers’ returning letterwinners is senior Kylee Crislip. Crislip, a two-year starter and 2011 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection, started all 50 games at first base for ODU and led everyday position players with a .340 (51-for-150) batting average, 11 doubles, 42 RBI, 71 total bases and on-base percentage of .406. Her 51 hits, three homeruns, 17 walks and slugging percentage of .473 all ranked second on the team, while her 22 runs scored tied for fifth. The 42 RBI tied for sixth most in the GLIAC and was just four shy of the fifth most single season RBI total in school history.

The Panthers also will sport one of its biggest incoming classes in recent memory as 15 new faces, including 14 freshmen, join the Black-and-Gold. Amongst those newcomers are five all-state selections and three state tournament appearances from a season ago.

Coaching: Marcella Vanlandingham is in her 17th season as head coach at Ohio Dominican University.

2011 Record: 14-36 overall, 9-23 GLIAC

 

6. Lake Erie

Overview:  Lake Erie College enters its second season as a member of the GLIAC and under the leadership of Head Coach Kristin Hall. Last season, the Storm went 10-38 overall, their most wins in their three years as a member of NCAA Division II. Lake Erie returns 13 players and 10 part- and full-time starters from last season. The Storm is expected to benefit from the healthy return of senior catcher/infielder Megan Foley. Foley batted .420 with 15 RBI last season in 21 games before her season ended due to injury. With a .388 batting average and 15 career home runs, the senior enters the season as Lake Erie’s career leader in hitting and in the top three in home runs.

Several other returners are expected to play big roles for the Storm this season. Infielder Juliana Brotzman is coming off a huge freshman season at the top of the Lake Erie lineup, as she batted .377 with three home runs, 17 RBI and a .946 OPS. Other returners who were fixtures in the Lake Erie lineup last season, each starting at least 46 games, are senior outfielder Haley Rathage, senior infielder Lindsay Pennell and sophomore first baseman/outfielder Jennifer Gratz. Also expected to make a major impact this season is redshirt freshman infielder Maddi Klemp.

The Lake Erie pitching staff will be anchored by sophomore Dawn Ondercin who made 14 starts with five complete games and a shutout in 2011. Other key returners include senior Sam Ronde and junior Lyndsie Delprato.

Coaching: Kristin Hall is in her second season has head coach at Lake Erie College.

2011 Record: 10-38 overall, 2-28 GLIAC

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