February 16, 2018
The 2017 season was a terrific year for Headfirst Honor Roll programs as teams from all three NCAA divisions fought their way deep into the post-season. From Princeton’s second straight Ivy League Championship, to Williams’ and Amherst’s appearances in the Division III College World Series – these performances remind us that pursuing a top degree and a College World series berth are not mutually exclusive goals.
As we head deeper into the Spring season, we are excited to highlight several Honor Roll programs poised for big years in 2018.
At the Division I level, Princeton looks to defend its Ivy League title for the third year in a row. They will face tough adversity from the Harvard Crimson – who the Tigers bested in both the 2016 and 2017 championship games. Leading the charge for the Crimson will be Honor Roll alumnus and 2017 All-Ivy Selection Olivia Giaquinto. Olivia burst on to the college softball scene in 2017 after tallying seven homeruns over the final month of the season.
At the Division III level – falling at #4 on the NFCA’s pre-season top 25 poll, the Williams Ephs look to repeat last year’s success as they claimed their second straight NESCAC title en route to the Division III Softball Championship in Oklahoma City, OK. They return virtually their entire starting lineup as well as their two top pitchers from 2017.
Standing in the Ephs way will be a NESCAC conference rival and another perennial power – the recently renamed Amherst Mammoths. Holding a preseason ranking of #7, the Mammoths also completed a run to Oklahoma City in 2017. The two programs will square off in a three-game series April 13-14 in what could likely be a preview of May’s NESCAC Championship.
While the Ephs and Mammoths compete for the NESCAC crown, the WashU Bears will look to blaze their own path to Oklahoma City. Coming in at #17 in the preseason coaches’ poll, the Bears claimed their second consecutive UAA title in 2017. Though a small conference, the Bears will face their share of in-conference competition as the UAA is loaded with competitive programs including fellow Honor Roll schools Emory, NYU, Case Western & Brandeis.
With everything that the 2018 season holds in store, we couldn’t be more excited to follow the action. Be sure to stay in touch with us on Twitter for updates on all your favorite high academic softball programs.