Bearcat Softball Team Picked for Third in NWC Coaches Poll

Spokane, Wash.— Pacific Lutheran University is a strong favorite to win its sixth straight Northwest Conference softball title and the Lutes’ 17th in the last 18 years.

The Lutes finished 32-3 overall last season and 25-1 in the NWC before falling to eventual national champion Central College (Iowa) in the West Region Final.

Linfield College, last season's runner-up, picked up one first place vote and finished second in the poll with 56 points. The Wildcats welcome the return of a pair of All-NWC players, including junior pitcher Michelle Morris.

Willamette University and Whitworth College were third and fourth in the poll, respectively, separated by just two points. The Bearcats, who will be led by senior All-NWC infielder Marcie Hagen, picked up 43 points. The Pirates, who handed PLU its only NWC loss last season, got the final first place vote and 41 points in the poll.

The University of Puget Sound was fifth in the poll with 36 points. All-NWC infielder Maren Buck will lead the Loggers.

Pacific University, with All-NWC utility player Allison Hennes returning, was sixth in the poll with 24 points. Lewis & Clark College was seventh (19 points) and George Fox University was eighth (nine points).