Feb. 7, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova softball squad has been tabbed to finish seventh in the BIG EAST as voted by all eight conference head coaches. The Wildcats received 12 points in the preseason poll. The news was released by the BIG EAST offices which can be found here.
Villanova returns four starters from last season's team, including five positional players that appeared in at least 32 games in 2013. The Wildcats also returns two starting pitchers: sophomore Kate Poppe (Downington, Pa.) and senior Kaity Sitzman (Tucson, Ariz.). Poppe finished 19-23 while tossing a school record 237.2 innings, striking out 256 batters and throwing a no-hitter. Sitzman had a team-best 2.46 ERA on 14 starts and 25 appearances.
Maria DiBernardi will enter her 30th season as the Wildcats head coach. She adds eight newcomers to the squad this season and will look for several of those freshmen to make an immediate impact in the lineup.
Last season, Villanova finished 21-31 overall with a 3-19 conference record in a loaded BIG EAST that sent three teams to the NCAA Regional Tournament. All three of those squads have moved to new conferences due to conference realignment, while Butler and Creighton are new additions to the BIG EAST.
The Wildcats open their season Feb. 21-23 in Ft. Myers, Fla. Villanova is set to take on five squads from across the country at the FGCU Tournament.
Be sure to follow the team socially on Twitter @VUSoftball, Instagram @novasoftball and like the Softball Facebook Fan Page to stay up to date with the latest news, scores and highlights from the Wildcats.
BIG EAST Preseason Poll
1. DePaul - 48 points (six first-place votes)
2. Creighton - 44 points (two first-place votes)
3. Georgetown - 30 points
Providence - 30 points
5. St. John's - 27 points
6. Seton Hall - 23 points
7. Villanova - 12 points
8. Butler - 10 points