LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 2 Salisbury University softball team is in its preparations for the 2016 NCAA Division III Softball Tournament, which begins next month, and the Sea Gulls are doing so with what the National Fastpitch Coaches Association are calling three of the best players in the country.
The NFCA cut its list from 50, on the preseason watch list, to 25 on Friday for the inaugural Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III Player of the Year, and Salisbury is the only team in the country with three players in the mix. Seniors Paige Knussman and Kim Dorsey were included before the season, making the cut to the top 25 players, and classmate Molly Simpson has played her way into contention.
Simpson has been one of the elite power hitters in the nation this year, leading Division III softball with 14 home runs while batting .472 with 52 RBI and 57 runs scored. On Thursday, she was named the Capital Athletic Conference's Player of the Year.
Knussman and Dorsey each picked up All-CAC first-team honors after the team claimed its 19th CAC title last weekend. Knussman ranks second in the nation with 12 home runs on the year, while batting .450 with 16 doubles. Dorsey leads the team with a .482 batting average while ranking third in the nation driving in 56 runs. She has also smashed 10 home runs this year.
Only three other teams have multiple players on the list of 25, with top-ranked University of Texas-Tyler, No. 3 Virginia Wesleyan College and No. 14 Rowan University earning two players on the list. Sixteen other schools had one player, with Christopher Newport University the only other CAC representative with a player on the list as outfielder Scoop Simon was named.
The NFCA will narrow its list to a top 10 in the next few weeks before announcing three finalists, and ultimately naming the inaugural National Player of the Year following the completion of the NCAA championship.
To see the list of 25 players in its entirety, click here.