Reigning Champ Binghamton Chosen #AESB Favorites
BOSTON — Reigning America East softball champion Binghamton is the conference's 2016 preseason favorite per a vote of the league's head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own team. Binghamton, which captured its first-ever America East title a year ago, received five of six possible first-place tallies and 35 points, to earn favorite status.
Stony Brook, the conference's 2015 regular-season champion, came in second with 30 points, earning one first-place vote, while Albany trailed in third place with 25 points and garnered the final first-place tally. Maine was fourth (21 points), followed by UMBC (16), UMass Lowell (15) and Hartford (6).
The season kicks off Feb. 12 with conference play beginning on March 26. For the first time in America East history, the top six teams in the conference standings (UMass Lowell is ineligible until 2018) will qualify for the conference championship, which takes place May 11-14 at the top seed.
2016 America East Softball Preseason Poll
Rank Team (1st-place votes) Points
1. Binghamton (5) 35
2. Stony Brook (1) 30
3. Albany (1) 25
4. Maine 21
5. UMBC 16
6. UMass Lowell 15
7. Hartford 6
1. Binghamton Bearcats (24-21, 10-6 AE – 3rd, AE Champion, NCAA Regional)
- Tabbed the preseason favorite for the first time in program history.
- Returns nearly its entire roster from the 2015 squad that captured its first America East title and competed in the NCAA regionals.
- Five All-Conference honorees headline Binghamton's returnees, including first-team All-Region choice Lisa Cadogan, who hit .425 and drove in a league-best 53 runs last year.
- The Bearcats open their season in California on Feb. 19.
2. Stony Brook Seawolves (30-17, 14-2 AE – 1st, AE Runner Up)
- Stony Brook was chosen second after capturing its second-straight America East regular-season title and winning 30 games for the fourth-consecutive year.
- The Seawolves return 12 letterwinners and six starters from last year's club that led the conference scoring 5.9 runs per game.
- Jane Sallen, a second-team all-leaguer last year, will pace the Seawolves in the circle. She went 15-10 with a 2.59 ERA in 2015.
- The Seawolves open their slate Feb. 19 in Charlotte.
3. Albany Great Danes (30-18, 11-6 AE - 2nd, AE 4th Place)
- Tabbed third in the poll after a third-place finish in 2015, its fifth in a row placing third or better in the regular season.
- The Great Danes led the league hitting .306 as a team last year.
- A trio of All-Conference standouts will lead Albany in 2016, including first-team shortstop Maggie Cocks.
- The Great Danes begin their season Feb. 26 in Jacksonville, Fla.
4. Maine Black Bears (22-22, 10-7 AE – 4th, AE 3rd Place)
- The Black Bears are fourth after posting their most wins (22) since 2010 last year.
- Maine posted a league-best 2.72 team ERA in 2015, but will have to replace the conference's Pitcher of the Year, Alexis Bogdanovich.
- Second-team all-leaguer Felicia Lennon will pace the Black Bear lineup after hitting a team-best .324 in 2015.
- Set to begin its first season under first-year head coach Mike Coutts, Maine starts its season March 7 in Clearwater, Fla.
5. UMBC Retrievers (22-27, 8-9 AE - 5th)
- Tabbed fifth, the Retrievers will have 16 letterwinners and eight starters back from last year's squad.
- Second-team All-Conference standouts Tori Alexander and Kelly Lane are back for UMBC.
- UMBC start its season Feb. 12 at Grand Canyon's kickoff tournament.
6. UMass Lowell River Hawks (17-30, 5-11 AE - 6th)
- The River Hawks enter their third season as a Division I program
- Seven newcomers will join 13 returnees, including Vanessa Cooper, an All-Rookie choice last year, to comprise the 2016 squad.
- UML begins play Feb. 19 in Madeira Beach, Fla.
7. Hartford Hawks (3-43, 0-17 AE - 7th)
- Hartford will look to rebound from a season in which it won just three games.
- The Hawks open 2016 Feb. 19 in North Carolina.