Central Islip, N.Y. – The Pioneers of LIU Post have been selected as the favorite to win the East Coast Conference Softball Championship in 2017 in a vote by the conference's head coaches. LIU Post sophomores Julia Seader (Piscataway, N.J.) and Hannah Olshevski (Robbinsville, N.J.) have been selected as ECC Preseason Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.
LIU Post was a nearly unanimous selection, earning six of seven first place votes to top the poll with 47 points. The Pioneers, who were ECC runner-up and also made their 15th straight NCAA Tournament appearance, finished last season with a 37-15-1 mark. This year's LIU Post squad returns two starting pitchers who pitched all but 3.2 of the teams innings and seven of 10 position players who had at least 80 at-bats. The Pioneers also get a boost with the addition of transfer, Gianna Gatto, who was a ECC Second Team All-Conference selection at Dowling last season.
Among the key returners for the Pioneers are Seader and Olshevski. The battery mates put together outstanding freshman campaigns during the 2016 season. Seader was the conference's Rookie of the Year after finishing with a .386 batting average to go along with 10 homeruns and 40 runs batted in. The backstop's name was littered across the conference's statistical leaders ranking third in homeruns and hits (68), fourth in RBI, slugging percentage (.636), and stolen bases (7), fifth in total bases (112) and doubles (14), and sixth in batting average and runs (35). In addition to the Rookie of the Year honor, she was also named to the All-Conference First Team and both the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (DIICCA) and National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region Second Team.
Olshevski's college career also got off to a fast start as she won the league's Pitcher of the Year honor. The righty finished with a 21-7 record and a 1.80 earned run average over 190.2 innings. Her win, innings pitched, and complete game (25) totals were tops in the ECC, while her stingy .223 batting average against ranked third. Olshevski also compiled 63 strikeouts on the year. An ECC All-Conference First Team pick, Olshevski was named to the DIICCA All-Region First Team and the NFCA All-Region Second Team, as well.
Reigning ECC Champion, Molloy, earned the final first place vote and finished with 41 points to come in second in the poll. With their ECC Championship victory a year ago, the Lions, who finished with a 35-24 record, have now won four of the past six conference titles. NYIT rounds out the top three in the preseason poll with 32 points. The Bears were last year's ECC Regular Season Champions with a 36-13 overall record and a 23-5 mark in conference play.
2017 ECC Softball Preseason Poll
|School||Pts.||Last Year's Record|
|1. LIU Post (6)||47||37-15-1 (23-5 ECC)|
|2. Molloy (1)||41||35-24 (19-9 ECC)|
|3. NYIT||32||36-13 (24-4 ECC)|
|4. Bridgeport||29||19-30 (12-16 ECC)|
|5. Queens||22||14-23 (11-17 ECC)|
|6. Mercy||13||22-28 (10-18 ECC)|
|7. St. Thomas Aquinas||12||15-32 (7-21 ECC)|
( ) - first place votes
Preseason Player of the Year: Julia Seader, So., C, LIU Post
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Hannah Olshevski, So., LIU Post