The Seminoles have been dominant in the ACC winning the Conference title the last two seasons. The Noles return 12 players from the 2015 squad that finished 49-14 on the season and reached the NCAA Super Regional round for the third consecutive season and ranked No. 10 in the final poll by both the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and USA Softball.
Florida State has to replace 2014 National Player of the Year winner in pitcher Lacy Waldrop who now with the Chicago Bandits in the NPF and shortstop Maddie O’Brien who also is playing in the NPF. The Noles will look to The 2015 ACC Tournament MVP Jessica Burroughs to be the ace of the Noles. Burroughs went 19-6 last year with a 2.08 ERA and 219 strikeouts and was named on USA Softball Top 50 players watch list.
Jessica Warren looks to build on a freshman season where she led the team with 19 home runs and 57 RBI and was named the 2015 ACC Freshman of the Year.
The question is who can challenge the Noles? Last year the ACC had 6 teams in the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame hosted a regional as 16 national seed last season and return strong nucleus of the team and figureds to be the biggest threat to Florida State.
North Carolina will be led by Kristen Brown who figures to be a high draft pick in the NPF Draft in April. Tar Heels Head Coach Donna Pappa hired in the off-season Chelsey Barclay to handle the pitching staff. Barclay coached the pitchers at Cal Poly and Marshall where she coached Andi Williamson who now pitcher in the NPF with the USSSA Pride.
Other teams to be in the mix include Pittsburgh who made it to ACC Tournament championship game last season which help them get into the ACC Tournament. North Carolina State made the Super Regionals last year but will have to replace ace pitcher Emily Weiman who won 31 games for the Wolfpack last year. Virginia Tech will look to continue to extend on NCAA tournament streak as the Hokies have made it 4 straight years have a young offense will be depedent on pitching staff that returns 2 starting pitchers and have freshman Olivia Lattin who coached by asst coach Angela Tincher.
In the Circle podcast, Eric Lopez and Victor Anderson spoke with Justin McCleod of Justin’s World about the outlook for the ACC in 2016. Some of the topics discussed were as follows :
- Can FSU get back to Oklahoma City?
- Who is biggest threat to the Noles in the ACC?
- What impact will Chelsey Barclay have on the Tar Heels?
- Can the ACC duplicate 6 teams in NCAA like last year?
Players to Watch According to Justin McCleod :
You can check out the Previews of Other Conferences :