Myrtle Beach, SC| After a successful 2017 campaign, head coach Lisa Jusino reprises her role as head coach of the St. Joseph's College (L.I.) softball team ahead of its 2018 season.
A year ago, the Golden Eagles, 20-17 overall, posted a 14-4 Skyline Conference record and entered the playoffs as the second seed. SJC opened the double-elimination championship tournament with a 2-0 victory over Sage but were eliminated after dropping consecutive contests.
The Returners: Jusino welcomes back 10 members of last season's team, including Skyline All-Conference First-Team selections Kristen Arbiter and Theresa Cardello, who gear up for their season campaigns.
Arbiter, a catcher, led SJC in RBI's (19), home runs (2), slugging percentage (.469) and doubles (10) last season and finished second in runs (23), hits (38) and batting average (.336).
In 2018, Cardello posted an 11-5 record and boasted a 1.93 earned run average, which was tied for third best in the Skyline Conference. The hurler also finished sixth in the conference in strikeouts (64).
Kelly will challenge for a starting spot in the outfield while the versatile Caputo can play in both the infield and outfield. McKenna will fill out the left side of the infield.
Expectations: With the departure of eight members of last season's team, SJC faces many questions in 2018. That said, the returns of Arbiter, Cardello and Smocer ensure the team can still contend for a conference title.
The results of the Skyline Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll, released on February 15, saw the Golden Eagles selected fourth, 20 points behind first-place Mount St. Mary.
2018 Skyline Conference Softball Preseason Coaches Poll
Rank, Team (first-place votes), Points
1. Mount Saint Mary (6), 62
2. Farmingdale State (2), 56
3. Mount Saint Vincent, 47
4. St. Joseph's-L.I. (1), 42
5. Purchase, 29
6. St. Joseph's-Brooklyn, 28
7t. Old Westbury and Sarah Lawrence, 26
9. Yeshiva, 8
When they begin: The Golden Eagles open the season at the annual Snowbird Tournament in Myrtle Beach, SC. After four games against Greensboro on March 7 and 8, SJC is slated to play doubleheaders vs. Mercer Community College and Delaware Tech on March 9 and 10, respectively.
From there, St. Joseph's returns to the Metropolitan area for a twin bill at William Paterson on March 23 before opening conference play at Mount St. Vincent on March 24. On March 25, The Golden Eagles host SUNY Old Westbury for their home-opener at 12:00 pm.