A season removed from tying for third place in Western Athletic Conference standings, the Utah Valley University softball team has been picked to finish fourth in the 2018 WAC Softball Preseason Poll.
A pair of Wolverines also earned preseason All-WAC accolades in senior pitcher Lauren Frailey Spendlove and sophomore utility Caragh Morris. Frailey Spendlove was not only named the first-team all-WAC a season ago but also tabbed the 2017 WAC Pitcher of the Year, while Morris earned 2017 WAC Freshman of the Year accolades, as well as second-team all-WAC honors.
After going 16-24 overall a season ago and 7-8 in league play, the Wolverines were projected to finish fourth in WAC play this season with 14 points. Grand Canyon, which tied for first with New Mexico State in 2017, was picked to win the league this season with 24 total points and four first-place votes, while NM State was picked second with 22 points and two first-place votes. Seattle U just edged out the Wolverines for third place with 16 points, while UMKC was tabbed fifth with eight points and CSU Bakersfield rounded out the poll for sixth place with six points.
NM State infielder Kelsey Horton was selected as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year and Seattle U's Andie Larkins took home Preseason Pitcher of the Year honors.
Frailey Spendlove, Morris and the Wolverines officially begin their 2018 season on Friday, Feb. 9, against No. 16 Minnesota at the Sportco Kick Off Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada. UVU and the Big Ten Golden Gophers kick off their seasons at 2:30 p.m. MT, at UNLV's Eller Media Stadium. Utah Valley will also take on Creighton, the host UNLV Rebels, in-state foe Southern Utah and North Dakota State later in the weekend.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.