The Lehigh softball team will kick off the beginning of Patriot League play Saturday by hosting a doubleheader against rival Lafayette College. The teams will also play a third game on Sunday.
The Mountain Hawks (16-7) had a full week during spring break, playing 11 games in eight days against high-level teams, coach Fran Troyan said.
“We played a ton of games over spring break and the weekends before, so right now we’re making sure we stay sharp and focused on one game at a time,” senior third baseman Morgan Decker said.
Going into the weekend, Troyan’s only expectation for the team is for them to play the best softball that they can. He said the team’s current biggest strength is that it has no glaring weaknesses.
“The neat thing about our team this year is that we have had contributions from just about everybody in the entire lineup,” Troyan said.
He said that the team is currently pitching, playing defense, batting and running the bases pretty well, although there is always room for improvement.
Decker also sees game experience as one of the team’s current strengths.
“I think we have a lot more games under our belt than we did last year at the start of league play,” Decker said. “I think that is a huge advantage.”
Troyan said the team manages Patriot League games slightly differently than they do non-league games. However, the team’s overall approach remains the same.
“Whenever we go into league games, we’re looking to manage the game in a way that will give us the best chance to win,” Troyan said, “so it may mean that not everybody plays quite as much as they did early in the year.”
Troyan and junior utility player Vicky Lattanzio cite success against Lafayette (6-11) in past seasons, but this does not affect their mindset as they prepare for their rivalry games.
“We’re going to play them as we play any other opponent in the Patriot League,” Lattanzio said. “We’ve done pretty well against them, but it’s anybody’s game once we’re on the field, so we’re definitely going to go into this weekend really strong.”
Like Troyan, Decker and Lattanzio do not try to place any specific expectations on the games against Lafayette. Lattanzio said she feels confident due to team’s chemistry, as well as the fact that Lehigh is the reigning Patriot League Champions. However, she said the pressure is on the Hawks to keep up to that level of play.
Decker plans to go into the games with something slightly different on her mind.
“Because I’m a senior, I think I’m just looking forward to taking my last year of playing and making it a great one,” Decker said. “I try not to think about expectations and really just enjoy every moment I have left.”
The Mountain Hawks will take on the Leopards starting at noon, with a second game at 2 p.m., on Saturday. Sunday’s game is at 12 p.m. All three games are home at Leadership Park.