By Adam Ostrow| January 28, 2016 at 3:02 AM CST - Updated July 9 at 5:01 PM
WICHITA FALLS, TX
Midwestern State softball was tabbed seventh in the Lone Star Conference Preseason Poll as voted on by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and various media representatives, the league announced Wednesday.
Reigning LSC Champions West Texas A&M took the top spot in the poll after claiming 17 of 25 first-place votes and 211 points. Angelo State followed in second with five first-place votes and 173 points while Tarleton State was third with 161 points and three first-place nods.
Texas Woman's was a close fourth with 159 points while Cameron rounded out the top five with 142 points. Texas A&M-Commerce took sixth with 101 points while Midwestern State totaled 87 in the poll. Texas A&M-Kingsville was picked eighth with 54 points and Eastern New Mexico completed the poll with 37 points.
WT's senior catcher Lacey Taylor, a Byers native and former star at City View HS in Wichita Falls, was tabbed the LSC Preseason Player of the Year while ASU's sophomore hurler Brandy Marlett earned LSC Preseason Pitcher of the Year honors.
The overall LSC Champion will be the team(s) with the best winning percentage in regular season conference games, while the winner of the postseason championship will be recognized as LSC Tournament Champion and receive the league's automatic qualification into NCAA postseason. The single-elimination championship will be played Apr. 29-30 at the site of the No. 1 seed.
The Mustangs are coming off a 24-24 season and 11-17 mark in the LSC for a seventh-place finish. MSU returns eight letterwinners from 2015 including senior outfielder Haley Howerton, senior designated hitter Katelyn Vinson and junior outfielder Taylor Bermudes, who each started more than 40 games last season, while also bringing back a pair of starting pitchers in juniors Tayler Jerrick and Erin Knox.
Midwestern State opens the 2016 season Friday afternoon with the three-day Lubbock Christian Tournament that will take place at LCU's PlainsCapital Park and Lubbock Christian School. The Mustangs will take on Western New Mexico (3:15 p.m.) and Oklahoma Panhandle State (5:30 p.m.) on opening day.