From Emory University Athletics
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) has released its 2016 Division III Preseason National Poll, listing Emory University as the 18th-ranked team in the nation. The Eagles finished with a 34-9 overall mark last season, the fifth consecutive campaign of 30 or more victories.
Head Coach Penny Siqueiros enters her 18th season at the helm of the Eagles' program by welcoming back 11 veterans from the 2015 squad that captured its sixth consecutive University Athletic Association title, tying for the crown with an 8-2 mark, and that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals for the second straight season.
One of the key returnees is senior infielder Hannah Sendel, who garnered NFCA First Team All-Atlantic Region acclaim after ranking eighth in the D-III ranks with 14 home runs, good for a second-place tie on the program's seasonal list. A First Team All-UAA honoree and MVP of the league's all-tournament team, she compiled a hitting mark of .372 and finished with 48 RBIs.
Also back in the fold are senior center fielder Alyssa Pollard and sophomore first baseman Ashley Powers, both of whom were Second Team All-UAA selections last season. Pollard, a starter in 40 of her 41 appearances, hit .336 (44 of 131) and finished third on the team's scoresheet with 31 runs scored. Powers enjoyed a fine rookie campaign, earning 42 starts and finishing second on the team in a number of offensive categories including batting average (.376), hits (47) and doubles (13), while tying for second in home runs (5) and placing third in RBIs (30).
A trio of battle-tested performers, senior Melody Carter along with juniors Taylor Forte and Amy Wray, will play key roles in the fortunes of this year's team. Carter drew numerous starting nods at third base and behind the plate, ending the season with a hitting effort of .270 that included 10 multi-hit games. Forte made 32 starts in left field and tied for fourth on the team and 19th among UAA performers in hitting, posting an effort of .371 (39-of-105). Wray was a fixture in right field, making 34 starts and closed out 2015 with an average of .278 at the plate that included five homers and 26 RBIs.
Junior Brittany File headlines the pitching corps after posting a won-lost ledger of 17-6, with her victory total second in the UAA and 11th on the school's season chart. File tossed 135 1/3 innings and fanned 156 opposing batters, fifth most in program history.
The Eagles open the 2016 season the weekend of Feb. 13-14 when they host the 3n2 Elite Event.