The wind chill may be near freezing in D.C., but softball season is only a month away. Colonials' fans have much to look forward to on the diamond in 2013, as GW looks to build on the momentum created last season when the team won 16 of its last 23 games and reached the Atlantic 10 title game for the first time in school history.
In preparation for the new season, College Sports Madness released its preseason A-10 all-conference squad and named sophomore shortstop Tori Valos to the first team and senior outfielder Autumn Taylor to the second team.
A 2012 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team selection, Valos put together one of the best rookie campaigns in GW history last year. She hit a team-best .320 and also led the Colonials in hits (56), home runs (11), RBIs (33), runs scored (32) and slugging percentage (.577). Her 11 homers were a school record, while her 33 RBIs matched the school mark. The native of Bakersfield, Calif., started all 55 games at shortstop, where she displayed outstanding range, recording 136 assists on the year.
Valos, who was named A-10 Rookie of the Week on April 9, posted 13 multi-hit efforts and nine games with multiple RBIs on the season, and she put together three separate hitting streaks of five games or more, including a season-ending six-game run.
Valos cemented her place in GW Softball lore with her performance in the Atlantic 10 Championship, where she batted .368 (7-for-19) with seven RBIs, six runs scored and five extra-base hits, including three home runs. She drove in the winning run with a suicide squeeze bunt in the top of the 14th inning to knock out defending A-10 champion Fordham and reach the title game, and the next day in the championship, the rookie tied the game in the top of the seventh with a two-run homer off A-10 Pitcher of the Year Sara Plourde.
Taylor batted .294, matching Valos for the team lead with 33 RBIs and 32 runs scored while ranking second in hits (53), doubles (11) and home runs (10). She slugged .522 on the season and stole 10 bases in 11 attempts. In addition, she started all 55 games in the outfield, including 49 in center, and displayed a strong arm, recording a team-high six outfield assists.
Taylor put together a team-best 10-game hitting streak from April 19-May 9 and was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on April 30. Her 16 career home runs are currently tied for second all-time in program history.
The Colonials open their 2013 campaign at the Hampton Inn Invitational hosted by Campbell Feb. 8-9. GW's home opener will be on Tuesday, Feb. 26, against Drexel. Follow GW Softball all season long on Twitter at @GW_Softball.