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March 3, 2024 9:13 pm

Mount Olive ties for first in softball poll

MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive softball team tied for the top spot in the preseason Conference Carolinas poll, which was released by the league office on Jan. 25.

In 2022, the Trojans finished the season 39-13 overall, tying the school record for victories in a single season while posting an 18-6 record in league play. It marks the team’s third 30-win season under head coach Mandy Sansbury, who enters her ninth season at Mount Olive. UMO returns a majority of its starting lineups, including four all-conference selections, after sharing the regular season title last season.

Players to watch for 2023 include Kylie Emanuele, a junior third baseman and utility player from Corona, Calif. She was 2022 Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference Carolinas, D2CCA First Team All-American, NFCA Second Team All-American, NFCA First Team All-Southeast Region, D2CCA First Team All-Southeast Region and NCAA Statistical Champion in RBIs and RBIs/game and 2021 First Team All-Conference Carolinas, D2CCA Third Team All-American and D2CCA First Team All-Southeast Region.

Also, Courtlynn Cooney, a junior outfielder from Mechanicsville, Md. She was 2022 First Team All-Conference Carolinas, D2CCA Third Team All-American, NFCA First Team All-Southeast Region and D2CCA First Team All-Southeast Region and 2021 First Team All-Conference Carolinas, Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team, NFCA Second Team All-Southeast Region and D2CCA Second Team All-Southeast Region.

Also, Hannah Killough, a junior pitcher from Pageland, S.C. She was 2022 Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-Conference Carolinas, NFCA Second Team All-Southeast Region and D2CCA Second Team All-Southeast Region).

King, the reigning tournament champion, and Mount Olive were picked to share the league title after each team received 132 points in the poll. King earned six first-place votes from the coaches, while UMO garnered four first-place nods in the rankings. Francis Marion slid into the third position in the poll, while Emmanuel and Belmont Abbey rounded out the top five in the rankings.

The Conference Carolinas championship is slated for April 27-30 at Tyger River Park in Duncan, S.C.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics