St. Mary’s could be set for continued postseason play if the Heartland preseason polls are to be believed. The men sit seventh in the poll, in a revamped conference, which sees 12 teams in the league, making that a decent mid-table finish. The women sit in fourth, and could make a serious push for the title from that position.
It will be an interesting year for the Rattlers with new opponents and a new head coach in Matt Barnes, the team could travel in either direction. Seventh would seem to be a solid prediction for a Rattlers side that is just starting to become a postseason regular team.
The structure in the Heartland conference has been completely revamped with the addition of four affiliate teams. That forced the conference to move to a divisional format, with three divisions of four teams, the winner of each division will go through to the postseason, along with the next best three teams on a combined table.
That new format will make life tough for the Rattlers as they will have to play the defending champions, St. Edward’s, in their division. That likely means they will not get that automatic berth and so will need to hope that the rest of their performances are good enough to gain an at large berth.
The women have stability in their coaching ranks as Corwyn Ritch enters his 16th season in charge of the Rattlers. That stability has seen St. Mary’s kick on lately and the 2015 season, where they won 10 matches, was their best since 2010.
The women’s league is smaller and is just a straight table set up, but fourth place should be enough to seal the Rattlers some postseason play. It will be tough though, with Dallas Baptist and St. Edward’s the teams most likely to take the title.