After claiming the program's sixth North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament championship last spring, the Denison softball team has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2013 NCAC title.
The Big Red claimed five of the eight first-place votes and finished with 73 points. Allegheny College was voted as the preseason runner-up with 66 points and three first-place votes. DePauw followed in third with 61 points and Hiram checked in fourth with 50 points. Ohio Wesleyan, who was picked fifth, received the remaining first-place vote and finished with 48 points.
Denison returns four of its top six hitters from last season as well as its entire pitching staff. Junior Meghan Edwards leads all Big Red returners after hitting .310 with three home runs, eight doubles, 24 runs scored and 28 RBI in 2012.
Juniors Kelsey Hager and Rebecca Dyer will head up the Big Red's pitching rotation. The duo combined for 231.1 innings pitched a year ago. Hager posted a 3.02 ERA and a record of 12-10 while Dyer finished with a 7-5 record and a 1.97 ERA. Hager was a second-team All-NCAC selection in 2012 and Dyer earned honorable mention.
Head Coach Tiffany Ozbun returns for her sixth season leading the DU softball program. The two-time NCAC Coach of the Year has guided the Big Red to 137 wins, three conference championships and three NCAA Division III Tournament appearances.
Denison will open its season on Sunday (March 10) versus Cornell College in Clermont, Fla. They will play eight games in Florida before returning to Granville for their home opener on March 20 against Muskingum.