The University of Wisconsin-Superior softball team was picked to finish in fourth place this year in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Softball Preseason Coaches Poll.
Somebody other than St. Scholastica was picked to win the UMAC title for the first time in 10 years as Northwestern was picked to win the UMAC title in 2019.
The 2018 UMAC tournament champion Eagles topped the poll with 62 points and six first-place votes, while the Saints were runner-up with 58 points and two first-place votes.
Bethany Lutheran is also expected to be in the mix after finishing third with 48 points and one first-place vote, while the Yellowjackets picked up 43 votes.
Last year, a young Northwestern squad prevailed in the regular season finishing third before surged at the end to three impressive wins and outscoring opponents 34-7 in the UMAC postseason tournament to earn the program's first bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Eagles fully reload with a strong group of sophomore players who return following outstanding rookie seasons as well as some strong veteran upperclass leaders.
The Yellowjackets will look to make a fourth-straight UMAC playoff appearance since joining the league in 2016 and finishing second a year ago.
All-UMAC First-Team infielders Gabby Gidley and Alayna Tulip, and pitcher Damara Theise, will look to guide the Yellowjackets under new coach Nick Bursik.
UWS finished last season with records of 18-18 overall and 12-4 in the UMAC.
Gidley, a catcher, had a .302 batting average with 20 RBIs last season.She also led the UMAC in sacrifice flies with four, which also ranked No. 19 in NCAA.
Tulip, a sophomore, batted .370 last year with a team-high 40 hits, which included 10 doubles and 16 RBIs.
Theis, a junior, is the top pitcher returning. She is coming off a 7-8 record with a 5.71 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 90.2 innings.
UWS kicks off its season at the Finlandia Dome Classic Feb. 23-24 in Marquette, Mich.
The Yellowjackets’ spring trip to Osceola, Fla., runs from March 14-22, and the UMAC schedule begins by hosting Crown College on March 30.
BREAKOUT BOX (this is the one I talked about in Slack):
2019 UMAC Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll
- Northwestern (6) 62
- St. Scholastica (2) 58
- Bethany Lutheran (1) 48
- UW-Superior 43
- Crown 37
- Martin Luther 29
- Minnesota Morris 24
- North Central 12
- Northland 11
2019 UW-Superior Softball Roster
1 Lizzy Borgwardt Sr. OF Verona, Wis
2 Tiffany Kirk Fr. IF/OF McHenry, Ill.
4 Emily Carpenters Jr. OF St. Peter, Minn.
5 Davrianna Horvath Fr. C/IF Esko, Minn.
6 Amelia Leger Sr. OF Andover, Minn.
8 Bobbi Jean Miller Jr. IF/C Oak Grove, Minn.
10 Gabby Gidley Sr. C/IF Superior
11 Alayna Tulip So. IF/C Arcadia, Wis.
12 Brianna McGrath So. OF Two Harbors
13 Bailey Kinnunen Jr. IF Grand Rapids, Minn.
15 Kayla Behrman Fr. OF Finlayson, Minn.
20 Amber Yoch Fr. IF N. Branch, Minn.
22 Damara Theis Jr. P/IF Shakopee, Minn.
25 Amanda Kishish Jr. P/IF St. Francis, Minn.
29 Bailey Armstrong Jr. P/IF Scandia, Minn.
30 W. Bertram-Messer So. IF Bertha, Minn.
Head Coach: Nick Bursik
Asst.Coach: Randy Hill
2019 UWS Softball Schedule
Finlandia Dome Classic
Sat., Feb. 23 vs.Marian, 9 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 23 vs. Northland, 11 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 24 vs. Edgewood, noon
Sun. Feb. 24 at Finlandia, 2 p.m.
The Spring Games - Osceola, Fla.
Thur., Mar. 14 vs. Fredonia, 10:15 a.m.
Thur., Mar. 14 vs. Delaware Valley, 2:45 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 16 vs.Stevenson, 2:45 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 16 vs.Rutgers-Camden, 5:15 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 17 vs. Neb.-Wesleyan, 12:30 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 17 vs. Nichols, 2:45 p.m.
Mon., Mar. 18 vs. So. Maine, 8:45 a.m.
Mon., Mar. 18 vs. W. New England, 11 a.m.
Wed., Mar. 20 vs. Bethany (WV), 8:30 a.m.
Wed., Mar. 20 vs.Mt. St. Mary (NY), 10:45 a.m.
Thur., Mar. 21 vs. Plattsburgh St., 12:30 p.m.
Thur., Mar. 21 vs. MCLA, 2:45 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 22 vs. Tufts, 10:45 a.m.
Fri., Mar. 22 vs. Framingham St., 10:45 a.m.
Sat., Mar. 30 home vs. Crown (2), 1 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 3 at St. Scholastica (2), 3:30 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 6 at Bethany Lutheran (2), 1 p.m.
Tue., Apr. 9 home vs. Northwestern (2), 3:30 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 13 at Martin Luther (2), 1 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 17 home vs. Northland (2), 3:30 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 20 home vs. North Central, 1 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 27 at Minn.Morris (20, 1 p.m.