The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team was picked by the league's coaches to finish second to Georgia Southern in the Southern Conference this spring, and six UTC players were voted to the preseason all-conference first or second teams. Georgia Southern got seven first-place votes, and Frank Reed's Lady Mocs got the other two. UTC seniors Sara Poteat and Kasey Tydingco and sophomore Cheyenne Willis were first-team preseason selections; junior Stephanie Rieck and sophomores Taylor Deason and Sarah Beth Roberts made the second team. Second baseman Poteat led the league with a .437 batting average and stole 18 bases last year, when Tydingco hit .360 with 13 home runs and 17 doubles and Willis had 38 RBIs and a SoCon-high four triples and tied former teammate Michelle Fuzzard for the league high of 52 runs. Rieck moved into the lineup midway through the season and hit .430 in 39 games with a .520 slugging percentage, while Roberts started 48 games as a freshman and batted .328. Deason led the SoCon with 24 pitching wins and was second with 177 strikeouts in 45 appearances, and her earned run average was 2.23. GSU's Sarah Purvis was the preseason pitcher of the year, and Appalachian State outfielder Allie Cashion was the preseason player of the year.
• Sewanee junior Valentino Bryant was named the Southern Athletic Association men's basketball player of the week after averaging 12.5 points, four assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in SAA wins against Rhodes and Hendrix. His eight first-half points propelled the Tigers to a 20-point halftime lead against Rhodes, and his clutch free throw in the final minute helped enable them to hold on for the win. He was 7-for-13 from the field and 2-of-3 on 3-point shots in the two games. The Tigers won again Tuesday at Toccoa Falls, 65-47, with Tyler Brown scoring 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds and Brett Bouldin adding 12 points on 4-of-7 3-point success. Sewanee led 36-17 at halftime.
• Sewanee's next opponent, SAA colleague Berry College (8 p.m. Friday), has an interim men's basketball coach with the announcement Tuesday of Jeff Haarlow's resignation during his 11th season. Haarlow, a former basketball player and All-America golfer at Berry, will continue his teaching and administrative duties through the end of the school year, but assistant coach Derek Taylor is taking over the team. Haarlow was a Vikings assistant to current athletic director Todd Brooks for four years before succeeding him as head coach. He has a 137-181 career record, and Berry is 4-15 season with a 1-7 league record. "We appreciate all Jeff has done for Berry College," Brooks said. "He has helped transition us to NCAA Division III and has laid a solid foundation for future years. He is an outstanding person."
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