LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Virginia Wesleyan University softball team will start this season exactly like the previous season, ranked No. 1 in Division III. The squad was tabbed the top team in the nation by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, earning the title in unanimous fashion.
Its been 21-straight weeks (672 calendar days) with the Marlins atop the polls, with the squad's first No. 1 ranking coming all the way back on April 5, 2017. Over the course of that time the team has put up record of 80-6, collected a pair of Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) titles, produced five All-Americans and, of course, has earned two National Championships.
Last season, Virginia Wesleyan put up the unprecedented record of 55-3, which broke the NCAA Division III record for wins in a year (which was set by the Marlins in 2017 with 54). The team sped out to a the tune of a 35-game win streak and turned in a regular season record of 39-1. After dropping the ODAC Championship opener to Guilford, the Marlins ran through the rest of the tournament with a Carla Hall no-hitter against Emory & Henry earning the them their third-straight (11th overall) ODAC Championship title.
In the NCAA Regional and Super Regional rounds, the team kept the foot on the peddle, earning a ticket to Oklahoma City without a loss. The Division III National Championship seemed to spell the same for the team as they made it to the Finals without dropping a single contest. There, the Marlins would face a tough Illinois Wesleyan University team. The two sides split a pair of games on day one leading to a winner-take-all game three. The Marlins used a Madison Glaubke homerun and a Cassetty Howerin sac fly to clinch a 3-1 victory and give them the right to hoist the Championship trophy for the second-straight season.
Coach Elliott and the Marlins have their sights set on similar aspirations this season. The team welcomes back a slew of talent including two-time National Pitcher of the Year Hanna Hull, who led the country in strikeouts (376) and in wins (40). They also return ODAC Player of the Year Madison Glaubke alongside five other All-Conference members. Also returning is a full coaching staff, which was the same collection of coaches that earned National Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2018.
Softball will begin its season at 1 p.m. on Feb. 16 as the team travels to Meredith College for a doubleheader.