LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Following its national runner-up finish, the Saint Anselm College softball team concluded the 2018 season ranked No. 2 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll released on Wednesday.
Saint Anselm attained the No. 2 ranking in the year-end poll after making it all the way to the national championship series of the 2018 NCAA Division II Softball Championship before falling to the University of Southern Indiana. The ranking is not only the highest in the history of the softball program but is also believed to be the highest ever for any team at Saint Anselm. The Hawks' field hockey program was ranked No. 3 in the country for three weeks during the 2016 season.
The national champion Screaming Eagles finished the season as the unanimous No. 1 team in the country, followed by Saint Anselm, Southern Arkansas, Saint Leo and North Georgia in the top five. The Hawks were the only NE10 team in the year-end top 25 with Adelphi receiving two votes in the poll. During the 2018 season, Saint Anselm recorded victories over No. 3 Southern Arkansas (twice), No. 4 Saint Leo, No. 8 West Chester and No. 23 LIU Post (twice) and went 6-3 against teams ranked in the year-end poll.
The Hawks finished 2018 with a 44-13-1 record, setting a school record for wins in the process. Saint Anselm also established new school records in games (58), at bats (1,587), runs (279), hits (478), doubles (82), runs batted in (243), total bases (629), walks (177), times hit by pitch (31), stolen bases (89), saves (6), shutouts (13), innings pitched (389), chances (1,764), putouts (1,167) and assists (529). Saint Anselm earned its first national ranking from the NFCA on Apr. 22, coming in at No. 24 in the poll for two-straight weeks following the program's record 13-game winning streak from Apr. 11-28, and entered the NCAA Tournament receiving votes in the last poll of the regular season.
Led by Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year Jill Gagnon and the NFCA East Region's Coaching Staff of the Year, Saint Anselm had a record-setting eight student-athletes earn All-NE10 honors in 2018, while three student-athletes earned all-region honors from both the NFCA and the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association. The Hawks won the Northeast Division regular season title with a 19-2 mark in divisional games before going on to claim their first East Region crown to advance to Salem, Va. as one of the eight regional champions.
Saint Anselm's 2018 roster consisted of seven freshmen, seven sophomores, two juniors and three seniors. The Hawks will aim to replace three starters in the field in 2019 but bring back five starting field players and their entire pitching staff.