Click Here For Complete GLIAC Poll
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University softball team has been chosen to finish fourth overall of 14 schools in the 2013 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Preseason Coaches Poll, which was announced on Wednesday by the league office.
The league's head coaches selected Grand Valley State to win the league title in 2013 as the league expands to 14 teams with the addition of Walsh University and Malone University. The league's head coaches participated in the balloting, but were not allowed to vote for their team.
GVSU finished on top of the 2013 GLIAC Preseason poll after claiming the 2012 GLIAC regular season title with a 45-15 overall record. The Lakers tallied 168 points and 12 first-place votes. Wayne State grabbed second in the poll with 150 points and the final two first-place votes. WSU was the 2012 GLIAC Tournament Champion and earned a spot in the NCAA D-II Midwest Regional Tournament last year. Ashland placed third in the poll with 138 points, followed closely by Ferris State with 137 points in fourth.
Tiffin collected 104 points and just edged out Ohio Dominican with 101 points for fifth place. Hillsdale grabbed seventh place and tallied 93 points, followed by Saginaw Valley with 90 to finish in eighth place. Northwood garnered 81 points to finish the poll in ninth place while Findlay tallied 71 points to finish 10th in the poll. Walsh came in 11th with 60 points, Malone finished 12th with 28 points followed by Lake Superior State in 13th (26 points) and Lake Erie in 14th with 23 points.
This season, the GLIAC Softball Tournament will be played at Marathon Diamonds in Findlay, Ohio on May 3-5.
Ferris State Bulldogs
Head Coach: Marie Foster
2013 Preseason Pick: 4th
2012 Record: (31-24, 19-13 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Ferris State returns 13 letterwinners and plenty of experience from last season's squad that posted a 31-24 overall record during the 2012 campaign. FSU won 15 of its final 21 contests en route to reaching the championship round of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament and narrowly missing an NCAA Division II National Tournament bid. The Bulldogs will be under the direction of a new head coach as Michigan native Marie Foster takes the reigns.
INFIELD: The Bulldogs lost two all-conference starters in the infield from a year ago at the corner positions, but return veteran experience to help fill in the gaps. Seniors Lainee Clay and Liz Hamming are back at second base and catcher, respectively, while sophomore Michelle Tononi was the team's starter a year ago at shortstop. Senior Lindsey Pettit was the designated player and saw action in the outfield last season, but is expected to compete at first base. Another senior, Allison Webber, is a candidate to contend at third base. Newcomer Taylor Verbic will add depth in the infield. Both Pettit and Hamming hit a team-high nine home runs each a year ago while Tononi was one of five players to start all 55 contests.
OUTFIELD: Senior Morgan Kramerich, who was an All-GLIAC Second Team selection a year ago, will anchor down one of the outfield positions were only one starter was lost to graduation. Kramerich hit .308 with 56 hits last season. Juniors Brittney Buti and Alex Wittman along with sophomore Jordan Maxwell should also figure into the mix along with a pair of freshmen in Alyssa Smith and Rachael Gabrielson.
PITCHING: The Bulldogs return plenty of experience in the circle as seniors Dana Bowler and Emily Carlson will help headline the rotation along with junior Amy Dunleavy and sophomore Cara DeLange. Dunleavey also claimed All-GLIAC Second Team accolades and was a NFCA All-Midwest Region Second Team pick in 2012. She batted a team second-best .340 with 51 hits and 39 RBI's while also pitching in 23 games and compiling an 11-8 overall record in 117 innings pitched. All four saw action last season. Freshman Stacy Thompson should help supply additional depth.
COACHING: First-year head coach Marie Foster takes over the program for Dawn Thompson, who served as FSU's interim head coach last year. Foster played collegiately at Division I Western Michigan and previously was the head coach for four years at Dakota Wesleyan University where she built a competitve program with teams that set numerous school records. Before becoming a head coach, she worked as an assistant coach at several levels of competition.
Ferris State opens its 2013 campaign March 9-15 at the Florida Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla. FSU will play 12 games over a seven-day span in the Sunshine State. The Bulldogs' home opener is set for Friday, March 29, when Ferris State hosts Lake Erie for a league twinbill at the FSU Softball Field in Big Rapids.