Jan. 18, 2018
BIG EAST Release | 2018 St. John's Schedule | Follow @StJohnsSoftball on Twitter
QUEENS, N.Y. - Following a record-breaking season in 2017 that led the Red Storm to its fourth-straight BIG EAST title game, the St. John’s Softball team has been selected atop the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll for the third-consecutive year, released on Thursday.
The Red Storm received four first-place votes and totaled 46 points in the poll to edge out last year’s BIG EAST Champion, DePaul who was picked as the runner-up with 45 points and also collected four first place votes. Butler (34 points) placed third followed by Villanova (29 points) in fourth, while Creighton (23), Seton Hall (22), Providence (18) and Georgetown (7) rounded out the rest of the conference.
St. John’s returns seven starters from the 2017 BIG EAST regular season champion squad, including a pair of first-team all-conference selections in Lauren Zick and Gretchen Bowie. Zick wrapped up her junior year with a .382 batting average in league play and led the BIG EAST during conference play in runs scored (29) and stolen bases (24). A dangerous threat on the base paths, Zick swiped 41 bags on the season to top all BIG EAST players.
Bowie returns after finishing her debut collegiate season with a .327 overall batting average. The Sparta, N.J., native led the BIG EAST in runs batted in with 46 and triples with four on the season. The utility player was also named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll three times during the 2017 campaign.
St. John's welcomes back senior McKenzie Murray and Second Team All-BIG EAST selection Madison Morris to the pitching rotation. Murray had 10 starts in 25 appearances for St. John’s, recording a 2.81 ERA on the season to go along with 62 strikeouts in 79.2 innings pitched. The Longmont, Colo., native also ranked first in the league with five saves.
Morris made 10 starts in 19 appearances for the Red Storm in her sophomore campaign, recording a 2.61 ERA, the best in the BIG EAST. In addition, the Hampton, Va., native tallied 60 strikeouts in 67.0 innings for the Red Storm, allowing a conference low 40 hits and 27 runs for the Johnnies.
The Johnnies also introduce five new faces to the squad, Elyse Morris (UTIL), Jessi Bryant (P/3B), Gabriella Conca (OF), Kalei Sorensen (OF) and Amelia Ditolvo (UTIL).
Amy Kvilhaug enters her 12th season at the helm of the Red Storm, the winningest coach in program history brings back associate head coach Bob Guerriero and assistant coach Alyssa Tiumalu who were named 2017 BIG EAST coaching staff of the year. Former St. John’s softball legend Chrissy Montez enters her first year as a volunteer assistant.
St. John’s opens its 2018 slate in Miami, Fla., on Feb. 9 when the Red Storm takes on East Carolina and Florida International, followed by a Sunday matchup with SEC school, South Carolina as part of the FIU Invitational.
2018 BIG EAST Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
- St. John’s (4) - 46
- DePaul (4) - 45
- Butler - 34
- Villanova - 29
- Creighton – 23
- Seton Hall - 22
- Providence – 18
- Georgetown - 7
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