By Carter Hunt, Staff Writer
2015 SoCon Player of the Year senior Sierra Bishop is expected to have another great season, picked by all the coaches as the preseason player of the year. The team is looking to finish the climb to the top of the conference after it fell in the semifinals last season.
Bishop was not the only player to receive preseason honors, as sophomore Lindsey Bert was named as the preseason SoCon
Pitcher of the Year and is expecting to have another great season after leading Furman in pitching last year. She finished the 2015 season with a 2.58 ERA and a record of 22-14. Bert pitched 250 innings last season as a freshman and her productivity is only expected to go up.
Junior Elise Smith was also named to the All-SoCon second team after having finished the season with that honor each of the past two years. This trio will lead the team throughout the 2016 season, but more players will need to shine if Furman is going to exceed its preseason predictions.
The Paladins finished their 2015 campaign with their first 30-win season since 2000, tallying a 31-25 mark, leading SoCon coaches to pick the Paladins to finish third in the conference. Chattanooga and Samford were voted preseason one and two respectively.
Outside of Bishop, the team’s other two seniors, Taylor Collins and Alex Sappington, will be getting plenty of action on the field this year and have the ability to make a big impact for the team. Sappington was the Paladins’ number two pitcher last season and will have plenty of opportunities to improve upon her 7-11 record from a season ago. Taylor Jenkins led the team in plate appearance last season and similarly will have ample opportunity to be a team leader this season.
Fourth year head coach Kyle Jamieson has been leading the team in the right direction the past few years, but the 2016 campaign will be a big season for the Paladins to see how far they are able to go. The season began with the Plainsmen Invitational at Auburn over Valentine’s Day weekend and the Paladins will make their home debut against Presbyterian in a double-header on February 19.