Feb. 3, 2014
By Michael Eldridge | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – The UT Arlington softball team was picked to finish seventh in the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Poll in UTA's first season in the conference.
The Mavericks, receiving 21 points in the poll, earned two at-large selections to the Sun Belt Conference Preseason All-Conference Team.
Villanueva finished the season with a .328 batting average, a team best, and was third on the team with 41 hits.
Barilli, hitting .253 in her freshman season, finished the year with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage to become UTA's all-time leader in fielding percentage. Barilli recorded 43 put-outs and notched three assists.
UL-Lafayette led the way as the Sun Belt's preseason favorite, receiving six first place votes and 62 points overall. South Alabama picked up two first place votes (57 points overall), WKU (47), Texas State (33) and Georgia State (30) to round out the top five. Troy was selected just ahead of UTA and the Mavericks led UL-Monroe, which picked up 11 points.
Western Kentucky's Olivia Watkins was selected as the SBC Preseason Player of the Year, while Jordan Wallace of UL-Lafayette earned the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
The Mavericks begin the 2014 campaign on Friday when UTA travels to St. George, Utah to take part in the Red Desert Classic. The Mavs open against Weber State at 12 p.m.
2014 Sun Belt Conference Preseason All-Conference Team
P: Hannah Campbell (South Alabama, Senior, Pitcher); Jordan Wallace (UL Lafayette, Junior, Pitcher)
C: Callie Alford (Georgia State, Junior, C/3B)
1B: Kacie McAllister (Troy, Senior, 1B)
2B: Olivia Watkins (WKU, Senior, 2B)
SS: Kaitlyn Griffin (South Alabama, Junior, SS)
3B: Preslie Cruce (WKU, Junior, 3B)
OF: Shellie Landry (UL Lafayette, Sophomore, OF); Blair Johnson (South Alabama, Junior, OF); Jessica Clifton (Georgia State, Senior, OF)
DP: Sara Corbello (UL Lafayette, Sophomore, DP)
At-Large: Emily Rousseau (WKU, Senior, Pitcher); Nina Villanueva (UT Arlington, Junior, SS); Callie Alford (Georgia State, Junior, 3B); Britnea Barilli (UT Arlington, Sophomore, OF)
2014 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year
Olivia Watkins (WKU, Senior, 2B)
2014 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Pitcher Player of the Year
Jordan Wallace (UL Lafayette, Junior, Pitcher)
2014 Sun Belt Conference Softball Preseason Poll (First Place Votes)
- UL Lafayette (6): 62 pts
- South Alabama (2): 57 pts
- WKU (0): 47 pts
- Texas State (0): 33 pts
- Georgia State (0): 30 pts
- Troy (0): 27 pts
- UT Arlington (0): 21 pts
- UL Monroe (0): 11 pts