|Jennifer Sweeney||Megan Zinn|
The University of Scranton softball team was voted second in the 2019 Landmark Conference Preseason Poll, which was voted on by the conference's head coaches and released on Thursday morning.
In the poll, Scranton garnered 44 total points and a pair of first place votes to place second, just behind Moravian, who collected 57 points and five first-place votes. Susquehanna came in third with 36 points, while Catholic rounded out the top four with 24 points.
Drew (14 points), Elizabethtown (13 points) and Juniata (8 points) were in positions five through seven in the poll, respectively.
For the full release from the Landmark Conference on the softball preseason poll, click here.
Scranton comes into the season returning a solid core from a 2018 team that made program history, as they captured a team-record 33 games and advanced to the Landmark championship game for the first time in program history.
In all, Scranton returns 13 letterwinners from a season ago, losing just two seniors.
Leading the crop of returnees is 2018 Landmark Rookie of the Year sophomore Jennifer Sweeney (Dumont, N.J./Dumont), who went on to become the first Royals softball player to earn NFCA All-American honors a season ago after being named to the Third Team.
A 2019 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Player of the Year watch list recipient, Sweeney was dazzling in her first collegiate season, she started all 44 games last season for Scranton, batting a team-leading .386 with a .689 slugging percentage and a .460 on-base percentage. She went on to club 51 hits, 10 home runs, and 10 doubles, ending the year as the team leader in RBI with 35.
In the pitching circle, Sweeney was just as impressive, posting an 18-4 record in 23 starts, with a 1.88 ERA and 105 strikeouts. Overall, she tossed three solo shutouts, combined to post another three shutouts, and tossed 16 complete games, all while holding opponents to just a .224 average for the year. For her efforts, she was an All-Landmark First-team pick as a pitcher in 2018.
Elsewhere, Scranton's only other All-Landmark Conference pick from last year also returns in junior outfielder Megan Zinn (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan), who was a Second Team selection in 2018 after batting .362 in 43 starts.
Scranton will begin their 2019 campaign in warmer climates in March, as they head to Florida for a slew of games over Spring Break from Mar. 9 through the 14th. There, the Royals will play 10 games before returning north.
Opening home play for the season at Magis Field on Mar. 18 against Misericordia, the Royals will play eight total doubleheaders on the Quinn Athletics Campus this spring. They will also host Landmark Conference foes Catholic (Mar. 30), Moravian (Apr. 7), and Susquehanna (Apr. 17) in Scranton, as well.
For the full 2019 Scranton softball schedule, click here.