The women’s softball underclassmen are looking to repeat last season’s Patriot League Championship victory.
The Mountain Hawks have gone undefeated in all their preseason games this fall, mercy-ruling every opponent except St. Joseph’s University.
Sophomore pitcher Maria Urban and junior outfielder Brooke Cannon said their team is coming into the season ready to compete.
“Obviously there’s still a lot of improvement to go win again because you’re working with a whole new group of players, but it’s definitely there,” Urban said.
Cannon said last spring’s victory has only made the team work harder and slack off less. She said the team is doing a lot more conditioning and weightlifting than they did last year in preparation for their opening weekend match up.
With five seniors graduating, five freshmen and one transfer student were added to the roster, including one pitcher and five players who will have infield or utility roles.
Freshman infielder Lily Owens said she is excited for the opportunity but knows the pressure is on.
“Since my first day, it’s always been ingrained into us that now that we won, we have a target on our back and we need to uphold higher standards than we did before,” Owens said.
Urban said some of the harder things to learn as a first year student are communication on the field and getting comfortable asserting yourself. She said students are extroverted people who aren’t afraid to put themselves out there. She said this helps with team chemistry when they all hang out together.
The freshmen also must work to earn the trust of the group after their success last year. Owens said figuring out who you are on the team is important to creating a team environment where it’s OK to fail because they have people to pick them back up.
“Coming in as a freshman it’s super hard because you want to earn your spot and you want to get playing time,” Cannon said. “But I think that we’ve made it clear that it rotates and you don’t need to worry about claiming your spot or anything like that. I think that’s really helped them settle in.”
Urban said underclassmen can’t cruise through and expect the upperclassmen to get the job done. She said accepting and embracing the pressure that comes with the role they are in is the biggest thing.
The team is working on repeating last year’s championship, but Cannon said it is not just physical improvement she is working on this preseason.
“My main goal would be my mental game,” Cannon said. “It’s really difficult going from summer to fall because you don’t get to be in game really whatsoever unless you play for a team. So whenever I come back, I get super not confident, and so I think one of my main goals is to keep my mental game strong, even when things aren’t going so well.”
Owens said making sure everything she does in practice is being utilized in the game is one of her goals this season.
The Mountain Hawks’ spring 2023 schedule has not been released yet.