"These are great accolades for our players and our team,” Aggie head coach Kathy Rodolph said. “We appreciate the nods of confidence the league coaches showed our team and our players. Preseason ballots are fun but the real work begins February 5th.”
The Aggies and Grand Canyon University split the six first-place votes, three apiece, but NM State had the edge for the top spot with 23 total points to GCU’s 22. Seattle U finished third with 14 points followed by Missouri-Kansas City and Utah Valley which were tied for fourth with 13 points and Bakersfield which rounded out the standings with five points.
Rodriguez, a native of Paramount, Calif., has led the conference in home runs each of the last two seasons. She will be seeking her second WAC Player of the Year award as she took home the honor in 2013 as a sophomore. That season she finished with 20 long balls to lead the WAC, place 10th in the country and place second all-time in NM State program history for home runs in a season.
She finished 2014 with a WAC-leading 15 home runs, including two grand slams, and also led the Aggies with a .397 average at the plate and a .788 slugging percentage. She was part of the All-WAC second team last season.
NM State will try to make it three-straight WAC Player of the Year honors as senior Lacey Rother is the reigning conference top player. Rother is also part of this year’s Preseason All-WAC Team after leading the Aggies last season with a .462 batting average and four home runs in WAC play.
Joining Rodriguez and Rother on the preseason all-conference list are juniors Fiana Finau and Emma Adams. Finau was a first team All-WAC member last season after leading NM State with 63 hits and 47 RBIs. She was also right behind Rodriguez with 14 home runs and a .394 batting average. Adams, a 2014 All-WAC second teamer, hit .326, had 46 hits, a home run and eight doubles last season.
The Aggies begin their season next week by hosting the Hotel Encanto Invitational and also conclude 2015 at home by hosting the WAC Tournament.
The team kicks off its preseason with the Dining at the Diamond event on Saturday from 4-6 p.m. To sign up for the event please visit www.aggieathleticclub.com/diningdiamond. For more information fans can contact assistant coach Kate Malveaux at email@example.com.
2015 WAC Preseason Softball Coaches’ Poll
Rank Teams (1st-Place Votes) Points
1. New Mexico State (3) 23
2. Grand Canyon (3) 22
3. Seattle U 14
T-4. UMKC 13
T-4. Utah Valley 13
6. Bakersfield 5
2015 Preseason Softball All-WAC Team
Player School Yr. Pos.
Emma Adams New Mexico State Jr. 3B
Kelsey Barak Grand Canyon Sr. SS
Fiana Finau New Mexico State Jr. 1B/DP
Izzy Geronimo Seattle U Jr. OF
Kayla Henry Grand Canyon Sr. OF
Katie Kelley UMKC Jr. P/1B
Lisa Maulden Seattle U Sr. 1B
Bubba Morrow Seattle U Sr. C
Nicole Newbury Grand Canyon Jr. 3B
Cinda Ramos UMKC Sr. P/1B
Staci Rodriguez New Mexico State Sr. OF
Lacey Rother New Mexico State Sr. C/OF
Brittney Vansway Utah Valley So. IF
Preseason Player of the Year: Staci Rodriguez , New Mexico State
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Katie Kelley, UMKC