By: Nick Troiano
The Sacred Heart University club softball team has high expectations for the 2017-2018 season. The team is returning after a season in which they clinched a regional tournament.
The Pioneers have started off the year 6-0, sweeping Hofstra University in the first three games of the season. Unlike last year, the team is very strong-both defensively and offensively. This year, the team is striving to create a more suitable balance to push themselves further into the regional tournament.
Not only does the team have its sights set on the regional tournament, but they also have a goal to make the College Club Softball World Series, as they had last year.
“Compared to last year, one of the biggest strengths we have as a team is that we have both a solid offense and defense,” said junior co-captain, Julia Collins. She goes on further to say that, “We are able to put some runs onto the board to get ahead of our competition, while also stopping the opposing team from trying to do the same.”
The team is as confident as ever. This newfound confidence is leading to positive results on the field.
“We have been great at dealing with tight situations that we have been faced with this season. If we can perfect our defensive side, our team will be close to being unstoppable,” said Collins.
The three game sweep of Hofstra was a wake-up call for the team.
“The first game was extremely significant because we were down 6-4 by the 4th inning and ended up winning 11-6, said junior co-captain, Stefani Antoshak.” “The game was integral to our growth as a team, not only because it was the first time ever playing together as a team, but also because we never gave up.”
This attitude has the team hopeful that they will continue to win more games. Starting the season with six consecutive wins set the bar high for the Pioneers.
“The main goals for the team heading into the season are to win our division, go back to regionals, and to make another World Series appearance,” said head coach and Sacred Heart Club Dports Director, Raymond Mencio.
The team remains confident, but at the same time they are aware that accomplishing their goals will not be an easy task considering the competition is as fierce-as-ever.
“In order for these goals to be accomplished, we need to consistently put in a lot of time and effort both on and off the field in order to compete with the competitive teams within our division,” said Mencio. “There’s a lot of competition within our conference from teams like UConn, Rutgers, Penn State, and Delaware.”
The team will build from the positives, while simultaneously continuing to critique and learn from the negatives.
“Winning game two 12-1, and game three 10-6, sets a high bar of expectations for our team for the rest of the year in hopes to win all the games we plan to play,” said Antoshak.