WAUKESHA, Wis.- Benedictine was tabbed to win the 2012 Northern Athletics Conference Softball Championship, which would be its second straight, according to the preseason coaches' poll.
The Eagles received 10 of the 13 first-place votes and 166 total poll points for the top spot, ahead of Aurora's 156 points and two first-place votes. Concordia Wisconsin received the remaining first-place vote and 145 points for third, followed by Dominican, Concordia Chicago and Lakeland to round out the top half. The complete poll results are listed below.
Benedictine's title last season halted Aurora's streak of four-straight championships, and the Eagles (37-8, 22-2 NAC) completed the season with the NAC Tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Championship Tournament. The Eagles led the league in both batting and pitching with bests of a .375 batting average and a 1.85 ERA. The defending champs also had the highest fielding percentage at .960 and stole 189 bases.
Benedictine returns a solid core of players led by two-time NAC Pitcher of the Year Brittany Adcox. The senior right-hander led the conference with a 1.59 ERA, 166 strikeouts and a 24-8 record last season, and is also a threat in the batter's box as she hit .371 with 35 RBIs and three home runs.
The 2012 NAC Tournament takes place May 3-5 at Alverno Field in Milwaukee, with the tournament winner earning the conference's automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA III Championship Tournament.
The top six teams in the standings qualify for the conference tournament. 2012 Northern Athletics Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Benedictine (10), 166
2. Aurora (2), 156
3. Concordia Wisconsin (1), 145
4. Dominican, 124
5. Concordia Chicago, 109
6. Lakeland, 105
7. Marian, 88
8. Edgewood, 80
9. Wisconsin Lutheran, 61
10. Alverno, 55
11. Rockford, 46
12. MSOE, 33
13. Maranatha, 15