Softball's Hoff, Ferrell Pick Up C-USA Preseason Honors
North Texas Picked to Finish Sixth in Preseason Poll
|2015 Conference USA
|P - Lexi Betancourt, Charlotte, Jr.
P - Samantha Messer, FAU, Sr.
P - Miranda Kramer, WKU, Sr.
C - Jacki Kleinsmith, Charlotte, Sr.
C - Mickey Bell, FAU, Jr.
C - Dani Pugh, WKU, Sr.
IF - Stephanie Texeira, FIU, So.
IF - Shaelynn Braxton, Marshall, Jr.
IF - Dani Hoff, North Texas, Sr.
IF - Caitlin Attfield, UAB, Jr.
IF - Megan Low, UTSA, Sr.
OF - Christina Martinez, FAU, Jr.
OF - Kaelynn Greene, Marshall, Jr.
OF - Morgan Zerkle, Marshall, So.
OF - Ashley Eldridge, UTEP, Sr.
DP/UT - Spencer Ferrell, North Texas, Jr.
Preseason Player of the Year
Megan Low, UTSA, Sr.
Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Samantha Messer, FAU, Sr.
|2015 Conference USA
|T-1. FIU (5)
T-1. UAB (5)
3. FAU (1)
4. Marshall (1)
6. North Texas
10. Southern Miss
11. LA Tech
12. Middle Tennessee
IRVING - Less than a week into preseason preparation, second year head coach Tracey Kee already has something to build on. Tuesday morning, the Conference USA office announced two North Texas players had been named to the preseason All-Conference team; junior Spencer Ferrell and Senior Dani Hoff.
Ferrell proved to be a true utility player in 2014, starting every game and seeing action at left field, right field, second base and shortstop. After breaking the Mean Green single-season school record with 17 sacrifice hits, she was named second team All-Conference USA as a utility player. A transfer from Cameron College in 2013, this marks the first preseason award in her career.
Hoff, in her final season here in Denton, looks to lead this Mean Green unit both figuratively and literally this season. In 2014, she quietly led the team in in batting average (.355) and doubles (13). She also recorded 61 hits, second to only Brooke Foster’s 62 hits. Her 13 game hitting streak was the longest on the team. This is also the first preseason honor in her career.
The Conference USA preseason poll, also announced Tuesday morning, seemed to hold a bit of a surprise for the Mean Green softball community. North Texas capped off a record-breaking 2014 campaign with a third-place finish in the Conference USA Tournament, falling to eventual champion No. 1 Tulsa in the semifinal round. The 2015 season sees powerhouse Tulsa and ECU exit the conference while former Sun Belt rival Western Kentucky enters its first season of membership. As voted by the conference coaches, North Texas was picked to finish sixth in the conference standings, directly behind newcomer WKU.
“As a program, we have a lot of ‘unknowns’ going into this spring,” Kee said. “Though this is the case, I feel our fans and our opponents will be surprised at the overall balance our squad will showcase.”
After laying the foundation in 2014, Kee will try to take the program to the next level this season. In order to do so, she will have to find a way to replace five key starters including offensive weapon Foster and pitching ace Ashley Kirk. Six returning starters, Ferrell and Hoff included, and a slew of talented incoming freshmen and transfers, look to pick up right where the last squad left off. And then some.
“This team has a lot of talent and depth, and whenever you add a competitive spirit with those two components, the potential is there,” Kee added. “Now it’s up to our student-athletes and staff to embark on this long season with a relentless effort and focus.”
Is North Texas softball rebuilding or reloading? We’ll find out come February 6 when the Mean Green opens up the season with a matchup against Big East opponent Seton Hall in the first game of the North Texas Invitational. First pitch is set for 12:00 p.m. CT at Lovelace Field.