After finishing the 2021 season ranked No. 13 the Virginia Tech Hokies’ softball team has earned the program’s highest preseason ranking ever, No. 10. VT’s previous high, in the preseason rankings, came in 2008 when the team was ranked No. 15.
On top of that the Hokies had four players named to the Preseason All-ACC team. Kelsey Bennet, Kelsey Brown, Cameron Fagan, and Keely Rochard. Last year, Bennet, who plays third base and shortstop, set a school record with three home runs against NC. State. Brown, an outfielder, had a perfect run of stealing all 31 bases she attempted in 2021. Fagan, a freshman last year, had 14 multi-hit games and recorded a hit in 29 of 34. Rochard, a pitcher, finished 2021 as a First Team All-American. Keely is just the second First Team All-American in program history. She collected two no-hitters, 348 strikeouts, and 29 wins on her way to being named the ACC Pitcher of the Year. Rochard has also been named to the 2022 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year watchlist. With four from the team named to the Preseason All-ACC team the Hokies have the most players, in the conference, named to the squad!
Virginia Tech’s 2022 schedule shows them facing eight other Top 25 teams. The Hokies will square off against No. 2 Alabama, No. 6 Florida State (who lost the national championship to Oklahoma), No. 12 Missouri, No. 14 Clemson, No. 18 Duke, No. 20 Kentucky, and No. 24 Northwestern. Last season VT finished with an overall record of 37-15 and a conference record of 23-11. In the post season they were named to the NCAA Super Regionals where they defeated BYU twice, Arizona State once, and shocked No. 2 UCLA, defeating the Bruins once before they came back and beat the Hokies twice, eliminating VT from the tournament.
The Virginia Tech Hokies open their season this week at the Northern Lights / Southern Lights Tournament in Leesburg, Florida. Things get started with the Wisconsin Badgers on February 11, but also waiting in Florida are the No. 24 Northwestern Wildcats, No. 12 Missouri Tigers (February 12), the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats. It appears that a lot of big cats are going to try and slow down our Fighting Gobblers early!