The Midwest Conference released its 2016 Softball Preseason Coaches Poll and season preview on Friday and Lake Forest College was atop the list. The Foresters were also ranked 20th in the country in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Poll.
Voting for the league's preseason poll is done by the MWC head softball coaches. Each coach votes for the other 10 schools in the conference in order of predicted finish. Points are assigned in reverse order of voting (10 points for first, nine for second, etc.). Coaches may not vote for their own teams. The Foresters were listed first on nine of 10 ballots and received 98 of a possible 100 points.
The first-place team in the regular season standings will earn the conference title and the right to host the four-team MWC Tournament, which will be played May 6-7. The tournament champion will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, which will begin on May 12.
Lake Forest is looking for its third consecutive conference title and the ninth in program history, more than any other active member of the league. The team returns 14 letter winners and seven all-conference honorees, including 2015 MWC Pitcher of the Year Jessi Werner and fellow First Team All-MWC selections Kaleigh Ambrose, Alex Hemmer, and Sally Snarski.
The Foresters posted a 35-11 overall record last season, hosted and won a four-team NCAA Division III Regional Tournament, and finally had its season come to an end against Alma College in the super regional round.
The NFCA's Preseason Poll was released on February 3 and Lake Forest was the only Midwest Conference school in the top 25. The Foresters are scheduled to take on at least three other top-25 teams, beginning with a season-opening doubleheader at #18 Emory on March 6. Lake Forest will also compete at the prestigious NFCA Classic, where the team will face #11 Alma to begin pool play on March 11 and could take on any of nine other ranked programs in its three bracket games. In addition, the Foresters will host #16 Illinois Wesleyan University in a doubleheader on March 26.
|PLACE||TEAM (FIRST PLACE VOTES)||POINTS|
|1||Lake Forest College (9)||98|
|2||Cornell College (2)||90|
|5||St. Norbert College