Lehigh softball first-year Maddy Clark poses during a team media day shoot on Jan. 29, 2024 at the Smith Center. Clark is one of four first-year athletes joining the Lehigh softball team. (Holly Fasching / B&W Staff)

Lehigh softball welcomes five newcomers


Despite racking up 40 wins last spring in one of the best seasons in program history, the Lehigh softball team could not drive it home to the Patriot League Championship, losing to Army in the semifinals. 

This year, the Mountain Hawks are bringing in four first-years and a transfer student to help them get over the hump after last year’s early exit.

“We feel like this first-year class really checks the boxes in every area,” coach Fran Troyan said. “They fit in well to Lehigh academically and with the championship culture that we have here with our softball program.”

This season, the team welcomes first-year infielder Maddy Clark, infielder Holly Lovett, outfielder Gracie Smith, and infielder/outfielder Peyton Sward. They also added a junior transfer from the University of South Florida — infielder Julia Mrochko.

Troyan said he recognizes the talent each newcomer brings to the roster and is excited to see them play, even if they do not earn a starting role out of the gate. 

“Each one is a little bit different, each one is kind of on their own journey, running their own race,” Troyan said. “ But we expect them all to not only (be) contributors to the softball program in general, but they will all be contributors on the field as well.” 

This is especially prevalent in the position battle for shortstop, with four players looking to replace Lehigh’s all-time hits leader Carley Barjaktarovich. Mrochko, Sward and Lovett are all candidates, along with sophomore Crysta Duneas.

Since their season doesn’t start until the spring, Smith is appreciative of the time she spent getting acclimated to the new environment during the offseason and credits her coaches and teammates for their support. 

“Everyone here is so welcoming and helpful with homesickness which is something you don’t really think about,” Smith said. “I want to be the best teammate I can be, and if I get the chance to start, then I will go all out for my team.”

Coming in as a transfer student, Mrochko has experienced a similar feeling to the first-years. She said she maintains her gratitude for how smoothly she was integrated into Lehigh’s program. 

“I was really welcomed with open arms here,” Mrochko said. “I remember my coach telling me that it was kind of like speed dating how fast I integrated into the softball team. I’ve become a part of a family so fast and the culture is just so intoxicating in a great way.”

With two collegiate seasons of experience at USF, she is excited to see what she can bring to the team as an experienced leader.

Troyan said that there is not just one standout player in this group of newcomers. He believes the group as a whole is talented and will positively impact Lehigh’s competitiveness for the upcoming season. 

With a strong recruiting class, the team will continue to set their sights on a championship with the new additions buying the goal and attempting to make the difference.

“We’re hoping to get a Patriot League Championship, so hopefully the addition of myself and these other newcomers will all push us that way. ” Mrochko said. “We have a great group of girls so I think it’s gonna go well.”

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply