The Lenoir-Rhyne University softball team was voted to win its fourth consecutive South Atlantic Conference Championship after being picked to finish first in the 2013 preseason coaches poll.
L-R, which finished with a 48-13 record last season including a 14-4 mark in league play, received six out of the possible 10 first-place votes.
Anderson, who fell to Lenoir-Rhyne in last year's conference tournament title game, totaled four first-place votes and was picked to finish second.
Lenoir-Rhyne also had five players earn preseason All-SAC accolades and looks to build on its three straight league regular season and tournament championships.
Junior third baseman Haily Jarman, senior first baseman Jessica Fellmeth and sophomore outfielder Marie Mauhar were all named to the preseason all-league first team.
Jarman led the team in batting average (.390), runs scored (51), total bases (128) and slugging percentage (.656) last year to go along with eight home runs and 35 runs batted in en route to First-Team All-SAC and All-Southeast Region accolades.
Fellmeth was a first-team all-conference pick last season as well and led the squad in home runs (14) and RBI (56) while batting .323 for the year.
Mauhar, a 2012 All-South Atlantic Conference Second-Team pick, finished with 20 runs scored and 13 runs batted in last spring.
Two L-R players earned 2013 second-team preseason all-league laurels: junior shortstop Jody Mizelle and sophomore outfielder Brittany Coursen.
Mizelle totaled nine home runs and 36 runs batted in last year for the Bears and garnered first-team all-conference and all-region honors as a freshman in 2011.
Coursen, meanwhile, started all 61 games for the Bears last spring and finished with a .305 batting average, six home runs and 20 runs batted in while being named to the 2012 All-SAC Second Team.
Lenoir-Rhyne opens the season on Wednesday, Feb. 6, against Belmont Abbey in a doubleheader in Belmont, starting at 1:30 p.m.
The Bears have also earned a trip to the NCAA Div. II Playoffs for the past seven seasons.
2013 South Atlantic Conference
Softball preseason coaches poll
(first-place votes in parenthesis)
1. Lenoir-Rhyne 78 (6)
2. Anderson 71 (4)
3. Catawba 64
4. Carson-Newman 57
5. Tusculum 45
6. Wingate 41
7. Mars Hill 34
8. Lincoln Memorial 21
9. Brevard 19
10. Newberry 14
<2013 All-South Atlantic Conference
u>Preseason softball teams
C - Betsy Braswell, Wingate
1B - Jessica Fellmeth, Lenoir-Rhyne
2B - Jessica Neidigh, Anderson
SS - Abby Child, Anderson
3B - Haily Jarman, Lenoir-Rhyne
OF - Brianna Mulkey, Lincoln Memorial
OF - Brittany Fowler, Brevard
OF - Marie Mauhar, Lenoir-Rhyne
DP - Amanda Snow, Lincoln Memorial
UTIL - Kaytlin Stroinski, Tusculum
SP - Elizabeth Johnson, Tusculum
SP - Kayla Clemens, Brevard
C - Tara Gibbs, Catawba
1B - Caitlyn Lance, Carson-Newman
2B - Nicole Ball, Tusculum
SS - Jody Mizelle, Lenoir-Rhyne
3B - Sara Kelley, Carson-Newman
OF - Brittany Coursen, Lenoir-Rhyne
OF - Rebecca Martin, Anderson
OF - Amanda Terry, Catawba
DP - Robyn Stanek, Mars Hill
UTIL - Brittany Phillips, Newberry
SP - Emily Huneycutt, Catawba
SP - Taylor Morris, Mars Hill