|School||(1st)||Pts.||2007 Overall||2007 NWC|
|Pacific Lutheran University||39||17-18||11-17|
|University of Puget Sound||27||23-17||12-16|
|George Fox University||15||7-29||5-23|
|Lewis & Clark College||10||4-34||2-26|
(First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis).
Linfield Favored to Win Fifth Straight NWC Title
Spokane, Wash. - Linfield College is a strong favorite to win the 2008 Northwest Conference softball title as the Wildcats not only prepare to reclaim the NWC crown for the fifth straight season, but also get ready to defend their 2007 NCAA Division III championship.
Wildcat head coach, and four-time NWC Coach of the Year, Jackson Vaughan will have nearly every starter back from last spring, including infielder Jenny Marshall, the 2007 NWC Player of the Year, and Brittany Miller, the 2007 NWC Pitcher of the Year. Also back are First Team All-NWC utility player Erica Hancock, who led the NWC in home runs, First Team All-NWC infielder Amanda Attleberger, who lead the NWC in triples, and First Team All-NWC infielder Meredith Brunette, who led the NWC in doubles. Linfield gained six of eight first place votes and 68 points in the poll.
Whitworth University, which finished only one game behind the Wildcats in the NWC standings last season and set a school record with 30 victories, was second in the poll with 58 points and the other two first place votes. The Pirates welcome back All-NWC outfielder Halley Cey and First Team All-NWC utility player Lacey Parry among seven returning starters.
Pacific University is third in the poll with 46 points. The Boxers return two-time All-NWC catcher Caitlin Mastenbroek and All-NWC starting pitcher Miranda McNealy.
Pacific Lutheran University is fourth in the poll with 39 points, followed by Willamette University with 33 points. The Lutes return Second Team All-NWC outfielder Heather Walling, while the Bearcats welcome back All-NWC utility player Nikki Franchi.
The University of Puget Sound is sixth in the poll with 27 points. George Fox University was seventh (15 points) and Lewis & Clark College was eighth (10 points).
Pacific Lutheran has already played four games this season after an early-February trip to California. Lewis & Clark opens this weekend, while George Fox begins play on February 15th. Most of the rest of the conference plays initial games on the weekend of February 23-24.
The first Northwest Conference series games of the season are scheduled for March 1-2. Linfield is scheduled to visit Whitworth that weekend as the top two teams in the preseason poll square off.