Lacy Gregory Tabbed Preseason All-Conference USA
Sophomore Led Mean Green In RBI And Doubles In 2017
IRVING - Sophomore Lacy Gregory was named one of 16 players on Conference USA's Preseason All-Conference Team, announced by the league office Thursday.
"I'm happy for Lacy because she's one of those kids that really puts in the work," North Texas head coach Tracey Kee said. "She's got a great hitter's mentality and typically that correlates to good numbers."
Gregory earned C-USA All-Freshman honors in 2017, batting .317 with 53 hits, seven home runs and team highs in doubles (11) and RBI (34).
The Mean Green are picked to finish eighth in the league standings, behind Western Kentucky and just ahead of Southern Mississippi. Last season, North Texas finished 25-31 and 11-13 in C-USA play, earning the seventh seed in the conference tournament, where they fell to Charlotte in the first round.
"Going into the season, that's realistic based on the youth of our team," Kee said. "I think it'll fire this team up. We've got a lot of weapons that people don't know about. Our goal is to surprise people."
This season, North Texas introduces nine newcomers on the 19-member roster, including three freshman in the starting rotation. Kee brought in one Division I transfer, Katie Clark (Stephen F. Austin), and two junior college transfers in Sally Gastelo (Arizona Western) and Sam Rea (Phoenix College).
"Our fall was hard," Kee said. "There was a lot of teaching and learning. Now nine practices into the spring, I'm incredibly pleased. Their ability to retain it has allowed us to push this preseason practice along. We've got it up to game speed."
The Mean Green lost five letterwinners from the 2017 squad, including two-time all-conference selection Kelli Schkade. The team's lone returning pitcher, Lauren Craine, will sit out the 2018 season due to injury.
"For us, it's about them understanding that it's hard to shut an entire lineup down," Kee said. "If you're one of those teams with one player, opponents can key on that player. Shutting down one great player is a lot easier than shutting down nine who have the ability to put numbers up."
Louisiana Tech, the reigning conference tournament champion, was selected as the preseason favorite with four first-place votes. Florida Atlantic's Emily Lochten was named the Preseason Player of the Year and Florida International's Shannon Saile was named the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
Fans can get their first look at the 2018 squad when the team hosts the Schutt Invitational February 23-25 at Lovelace Stadium.
2018 Conference USA Softball Preseason All-Conference Team
Pitcher: Shannon Saile, FIU, So.
Pitcher: Haley Wiseman, Charlotte, Sr.
Pitcher: Krystal De La Cruz, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
Catcher: Taylor McCord, Marshall, Sr.
Catcher: Alex Miller, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
Catcher: Marilyn Rizzato, Louisiana Tech, So.
Infielder: Haley Pace, Charlotte, Sr.
Infielder: Emily Lochten, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
Infielder: Elicia D'Orazio, Marshall, Sr.
Infielder: Cortney Smith, UTEP, Jr.
Infielder: Grace Beatty, Charlotte, Sr.
Outfielder: Precious Birdsong, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
Outfielder: Jackie Schoff, FIU, Jr.
Outfielder: Madisyn Palmer, Florida Atlantic, Jr.
Outfielder: Morgan Turkoly, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
DP/Utility: Lacy Gregory, North Texas, So.
2018 Preseason Player of the Year
Emily Lochten, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
2018 Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Shannon Saile, FIU, So.
2018 Preseason Poll
- Louisiana Tech (4)
- FIU (7)
- Florida Atlantic
- North Texas
- Southern Miss
- Middle Tennessee