FOREST, Va.- Guilford College's softball team is ranked fifth in the 2019 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) coaches' preseason poll released on Wednesday.
Back-to-back defending NCAA Division III National Champion Virginia Wesleyan University tops the poll with ten first-place votes after winning its 11th ODAC Championship in 2018. Randolph-Macon College sits second on the list with one first-place vote. Emory & Henry College was in third, followed by Lynchburg College and the Quakers.
Guilford finished 2018 with an overall record of 18-24 and was 5-13 in the ODAC. The Quakers return eight starters and 20 returning letter winners, including Third Team All-American honoree Makayla Carver. A senior, Carver led last year's team in hits (57), on-base percentage (.565) and topped the league in batting average (.514). Senior catcher Makayla Crawford (.397 avg., 12 HR), senior infielder Anna Wolfe (.362 avg., .460 OBP) and senior infielder Savannah Yale (.316 avg., .365 OBP) return after being named to the All-ODAC Third Team last year.
Pitcher Julie Gough returns for Guilford. The junior had 16 strikeouts in 63.2 innings pitched with an earned run average of 4.07 in 2018. Sophomores Katie McNeill (33 IP, 4.24 ERA) and Abigayle Rowell (10.2 IP, 3.28 ERA) are also expected to compete in the pitching circle this season for the Quakers.
Head coach Dennis Shores' team opens the 2019 season at home with a doubleheader February 16 against Pfeiffer University.
2019 ODAC Softball Preseason Poll (#) Denotes first-place votes
1. Virginia Wesleyan (10) 100; 2. Randolph-Macon (1) 90; 3. Emory & Henry College 78; 4. Lynchburg College 77; 5. Guilford 58; 6. Roanoke 56; 7. Ferrum 42; 8. Eastern Mennonite 38; 9. Bridgewater 27; 10. Randolph 23; 11. Shenandoah 16.