Softball: Northwestern ranked 14th in preseason poll

Carlos Stinson-Maas, Assistant Sports Editor

Last year, Northwestern finished 12th in the country, falling to then-No. 1 Oklahoma in the Super Regional round. They open this season ranked 14th in the NFCA preseason coaches poll.

Four conference teams made the list, released Jan. 28. No. 8 Minnesota joins NU as the only other Big Ten squad in the top 15.

The Cats’ underclassmen are poised to make a big impact in the coming season. The incoming freshman class was ranked 12th in the country by Softball America — and Sydney Supple, NU’s highest-rated prospect, is the fourth-ranked pitcher in the class.

The sophomore class is led by pitcher Danielle Williams, last season’s NFCA National Freshman of the Year. On Wednesday, she was named to the Collegiate Player of the Year Watchlist by USA Softball.

“We have great pitching right now, and that’s going to elevate a program really quickly,” coach Kate Drohan said in October. “We’re excited about our growth, but I still think we have a long way to go.”

The Cats will face tough competition ahead of Big Ten play, with eight ranked matchups in their first 16 games, including games against No. 1 Washington and No. 3 Oklahoma.

NU is also ranked 13th in’s preseason poll, and 15th according to USA Softball.

They open the season on Feb. 7 against Utah in the Arizona State hosted-Kajikawa Classic.

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