Jan. 29, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference announced its sixth annual preseason all-conference softball team on Tuesday. Tennessee led all schools with four selections.
Senior third baseman Raven Chavanne, senior second baseman Lauren Gibson, junior shortstop Madison Shipman and senior outfielder Kat Dotson were named to the Preseason All-SEC Team. On Monday, the No. 6 Lady Vols were picked to win the Eastern Division and earned five first-place votes in the SEC's preseason coaches poll.
The Preseason All-SEC Team consists of a minimum of 12 players. Each SEC head softball coach voted for four infielders, four outfielders, two pitchers, one catcher and one utility/DP. No ties were broken. In a class-by-class breakdown, the 2013 team consists of seven seniors, four juniors and one sophomore.
Chavanne was named to the Preseason All-SEC Team for the third consecutive year. She is coming off a banner 2012 season, earning Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America and All-SEC honors for the third straight season. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native was a finalist for USA Softball National Player of the year for the second year in a row. Chavanne led the SEC for the second straight season and ranked 21st in NCAA Division I with a .422 batting average. She also led the league with a .391 batting average in conference games. She also struck out just six times in 187 at bats - a 31.2 at-bat-per-strikeout mark that ranked 10th in the nation. Chavanne enters 2013 as UT's current career leader in career batting average (.444) and on-base percentage (.507). Her 102 stolen bases rank third on the Lady Vols' all-time list and she is within range to break Lindsay Schutzler's record of 120.
Gibson made the league's preseason team for the second straight year. She is coming off an outstanding 2012 season, becoming the fourth Lady Vol to be named a Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first team selection in multiple seasons (2011, 2012). She earned All-SEC honors for the second consecutive year. Gibson hit .314 and led UT with 13 home runs, 54 runs, 45 walks and a .562 slugging percentage. The Pasadena, Md., native also tallied 12 multi-hit and 19 multi-RBI games. She committed just two errors at second base to help lead the team to the nation's best fielding percentage at .982. Playing for the U.S. National Team this summer, Gibson led the Red, White and Blue with a .500 batting average and tied for the team high with 24 hits.
Shipman had a breakout sophomore season in 2012, earning Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America second team accolades and All- SEC first team honors. She hit .311 and led the team with 23 extra-base hits (10 homers, 11 doubles, two triples). The Valencia, Calif., native led the team with 18 multi-RBI games and also posted 17 multi-hit performances. She committed just five errors at shortstop to help bolster the nation's No. 1 defense. This past summer, Shipman played on the 2012 USA Elite Team.
Dotson had another impressive year in 2012, continuing to shine as one of the best hitters in the nation. The 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American earned All-SEC honors for the second time in her career (2010, 2012). Dotson ranked second on the team and 14th in the SEC with a .350 batting average. Her .348 batting average in SEC games ranked eighth in the league. She shined in the NCAA Tournament, leading the Lady Vols with a .375 batting average in their 10 NCAA games. Dotson is on pace to finish her outstanding UT career in the top 10 of eight offensive categories. Last year, she tied the program record for career times hit by a pitch (30).
Tennessee opens the 2013 season on Feb. 7 against Southern Utah in the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah. The Lady Vols open their home schedule at Lee Stadium against Lipscomb on Feb. 26 at 5 p.m.