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Retrievers Picked Fourth in America East Preseason Softball Poll
Reilly Ward is one of the Retrievers' three returning all-conference players.
Two-time defending champion Albany received the remaining two first-place votes and 53 points overall for second place, followed by 2006 regular-season champion Maine with 46 points. UMBC was picked fourth with 41 points, followed by Stony Brook (40),
Under the direction of sixth-year head coach Joe French, the Retrievers will look to repeat their 2006 offensive surge which propelled them to their first America East Championship since joining the conference in 2004. The top four teams in the league earn berths to the tournament, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Championship.
Last season, UMBC finished third in the America East with an 11-10 league mark and a 46-20 overall record.
The Retrievers return three 2006 all-conference honorees in seniors Melanie Denischuk and Reilly Ward and junior Dana Shepherd.
Denischuk, the 2006 America East Player of the Year, hit .432 and shattered UMBC records for home runs (24), RBI (82) and slugging percentage (.880). Ward was named to the all-conference first team after hitting .320 with 12 home runs and posting 52 RBI, while Shepherd earned all-conference second team accolades with her .338 average, eight home runs and 47 RBI.
The Retrievers open the season Feb. 17-18 at the Longwood Tournament in
School (1st-Place Votes) Points
4. UMBC (1) 41
5. Stony Brook 40