OMAHA, Neb. – The Omaha softball team has been picked fifth in the 2017 Summit League Preseason Coaches Poll, the conference office announced Thursday.
Defending league tournament champion North Dakota State was tabbed the league favorite and received all five of its possible first-place votes for 25 total points. Western Illinois came in second with 20 points, and South Dakota was third with 17 points and one first-place vote. South Dakota State garnered 14 points for fourth, Omaha (nine) followed in fifth and Fort Wayne (five) rounded it out in sixth.
Senior outfielder Jessica Nelson was also included on the Summit League’s Players to Watch list. Nelson joined the Mavericks in January after transferring from St. Gregory’s University. Last season, she earned Second Team All-Sooner Athletic Conference honors while batting .308 with six doubles, six triples and 31 runs scored in 42 games.
Guided by second-year head coach DJ Sanchez, Omaha returns six letterwinners in 2018, including four position players with starting experience and a starting pitcher. The Mavericks finished with a record of 15-30 (6-8 Summit League) for fifth in the league standings last season.
Omaha opens the 2018 season on Friday, Feb. 9, facing Missouri State and Mississippi State in the Bulldog Kickoff Classic in Starkville, Miss.