The University of Nevada softball team was picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference and placed three players on the preseason All-WAC team, the conference announced today.
In voting by the league’s eight head coaches, Nevada received one first-place vote and finished with 40 points, one point ahead of third-place Hawai`i. Fresno State was picked to win the title. Catcher Noelle Micka, outfielder Brittany Puzey and second baseman Kym Silagyi were named to the preseason All-WAC squad.
"The most important thing is where you finish, not where you start," first-year Nevada coach Matt Meuchel said. "We have a tough road ahead of us with a challenging non-conference schedule and hopefully that will prepare us for what is clearly going to be a very competitive conference schedule."
Nevada returns 13 letterwinners from last year’s team that won a school-record 44 games and captured the WAC title with a 16-2 league mark. Eight starters return, including Micka, a sophomore who was a second-team All-American in 2008 as a freshman after batting .399 with 43 runs, seven home runs, 41 RBI and four stolen bases. Puzey is coming off her second-straight first-team All-WAC selection and is Nevada’s all-time leader in doubles and RBI. Silagyi is the Wolf Pack’s all-time stolen base leader and batted .310 last year. She is a two-time All-WAC second-team selection.
"All three of our preseason All-WAC players are very deserving of that honor," Meuchel said. "I believe that we have a lot of talent on our roster with seven returning All-WAC players from last year. I think the voting reflects that the WAC is a very deep conference this year in terms of individual and team talent."
Sophomore shortstop Danielle Patrick and junior first baseman Kelsey Starr were first-team All-WAC selections in 2008 but were not named to the 2009 preseason All-WAC team. Nevada also returns junior pitcher Katie Holverson, a second-team All-West Region selection and a second-team All-WAC pick last season. Sophomore utility player/outfielder Britton Murdock also earned second-team All-WAC honors last season.
Fresno State pitcher Morgan Melloh was selected as the preseason Pitcher of the Year in the conference while Hawai`i third baseman Claire Warwick was tabbed as the preseason Player of the Year. Melloh won Pitcher of the Year honors in 2008 while Warwick was a second-team All-WAC selection last year.
Nevada opens the season at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., on Feb. 6. The first home games at Hixson Park are March 6-8 as Nevada hosts the Wolf Pack Classic. Nevada will play 18 games at Hixson Park this season.
The complete 2009 poll and preseason All-WAC team can be found on the attachment.