Coming off a season in which it posted 21 victories and advanced to the Northeast-10 Conference Championship Quarterfinals, the Merrimack College softball team was picked to finish third in the Northeast Division, as the league unveiled the full 2015 NE-10 Conference Softball Coaches’ Poll on Thursday morning.
The Warriors, who posted a record of 21-20 in 2014 en route to posting their first victory in the conference tournament in four years, were slotted to repeat their third-place finish in the Northeast Division from last spring.
Merrimack garnered 75 total points and a first-place vote and trailed only reigning league champion Southern New Hampshire (105 points/14 first-place votes) and Saint Anselm (80 points) in the eight-team Northeast Division.
Merrimack ranked ahead of fourth-place Stonehill (72 points), while Bentley (49), Assumption (47), Franklin Pierce (34) and Saint Michael’s (14) were slotted in spots No. 5-8 in the Northeast.
Meanwhile, in the Southwest Division, perennial power New Haven garnered 89 points and 12 first-place votes to boast the honor of preseason division favorite. Last year’s NE-10 runner-up, Adelphi, sat in second (79 points/2 first-place votes), while Le Moyne (61 points/3 FPV) and Pace (53) rounded out the Southwest’s top-four teams.
The remaining three squads in the Southwest rankings were Southern Connecticut (44), American International (23) and Saint Rose (22).
The Warriors officially open the 2015 campaign in just under a month when they travel to Clermont, Florida, to open up a week of play at the National Training Center. Merrimack will play 13 games there, as well as a two-game stop at Eckerd, before opening Northeast Division action at Stonehill on March 18.