Junior first baseman Taylor Orsburn
Jan. 23, 2013
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois softball team has been picked as a co-favorite in the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Salukis garnered 85 points and two first-place votes to tie with 2012 MVC Tournament champion Illinois State for the top billing in what was a close vote amongst the top four spots. Defending champion Northern Iowa (82 points) and Creighton (80 points) both garnered three first-place votes to take third and fourth respectively.
"I completely agree with how close the voting was, because when I was doing my poll it was very hard for me to choose. Every team has its strengths," said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. "I feel like a preseason poll is just that -- a poll. I don't want to be in first place at the beginning of the season, I want to be in first at the end."
Southern also had four players named to the Preseason All-Conference team in Taylor Orsburn (junior/1B), Jayna Spivey (junior/2B), Allie VadeBoncouer (junior/C) and Morgan Barchan (senior/OF). Orsburn and VadeBoncouer both earned First-Team All-MVC honors last season while Spivey was named Second-Team All-MVC.
SIU returns 12 letterwinners, including seven position starters and three pitchers, from a team that went 36-20 and made it to the MVC Tournament championship game last season.
The Salukis open the 2013 season Feb. 8-10 at the Dot Richardson Invitational in Clermont, Fla.
2013 Preseason Poll
T1. Illinois State (2), 85 points
T1. Southern Illinois (2), 85 points
3. Northern Iowa (3), 82 points
4. Creighton (3), 80 points
5. Drake, 62 points
6. Missouri State, 51 points
7. Bradley, 42 points
8. Wichita State, 23 points
9. Evansville, 22 points
10. Indiana State, 18 points
2013 Preseason All-Conference Team
Taylor Orsburn, Southern Illinois (Junior/1B)
Ashley Brentz, Missouri State (Junior/2B)
Jayna Spivey, Southern Illinois (Junior/2B)
Elizabeth Kay, Illinois State (Senior/3B)
Kirstin Cutter, Missouri State (Senior/SS)
Amy Baker, Creighton (Senior/C)
Allie VadeBouncouer, Southern Illinois (Junior/C)
Alexis Cantu, Creighton (Junior/DP-P)
Jhavon Hamilton, Illinois State (Senior/DP-Utility)
Morgan Barchan, Southern Illinois (Senior/OF)
Ellen Homan, Creighton (Junior/OF)
Lauren Kellar, Illinois State (Senior/OF)
Becca Changstrom, Creighton (Junior/P)
Jamie Fisher, Northern Iowa (Junior/P)