The Central Connecticut softball team was predicted to finish sixth this season in the nine-team Northeast Conference Coaches' Poll as announced by the league's front office on Thursday, February 1. Saint Francis U. was chosen as the unanimous favorite to win its second straight NEC Championship for the 2018 season.
Robert Morris was second in the poll, followed by LIU Brooklyn, Sacred Heart and Wagner. Bryant, Mount St. Mary's and Fairleigh Dickinson trailed the Blue Devils and rounded the coaches' poll.
Last season Central Connecticut finished the year 15-24 overall and 8-8 in conference play. The Blue Devils went on a tear to end the regular season winning five of their last six contests, but missed the postseason tournament.
This year, the Blue Devils add eight true freshmen and one sophomore transfer to the lineup. Central will be guided by the experience of its six seniors: catcher Brittany McNulla and infielders Tori Constantin, Kaitlin Paterson, Gianna Hathaway and Lex Debrosse, and outfielder Brittany Camara, along with pitcher Emily Sargent.
McNulla, Camara, Debrosse and Constantin are the Blue Devils' four leading returning hitters. Last year, McNulla paced CCSU at the plate with a .325 batting average, posting team-bests in hits (40), doubles (10) and runs batted in (32). Debrosse slugged a team most six home runs and was second on the team with 22 runs batted in.
Head coach Breanne Gleason begins her fifth season at the help and will open the Blue Devils' 2018 season on February 23-25 in Miami, FL at the Florida International Invitational. In the tournament, CCSU will go head-to-head with Siena, FIU, Big Ten member Michigan St. and the ACC's Boston College.
Central will begin the month of March at the University of Arkansas's Woo Pig Classic where they will duel with Northern Colorado, Arkansas and Dartmouth. The Blue Devils will then compete at the University of South Florida's Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, FL on March 9-11, where they will take the field against Western Michigan, Rider, South Dakota St., Chattanooga and Lehigh.
CCSU will face Yale in its home-opener at CCSU Softball Field in New Britain, CT for a doubleheader on March 13. Central's Northeast Conference opener with feature a home doubleheader against in-state foe Sacred Heart on March 30.
For the complete 2018 CCSU regular season schedule, click HERE.