By Nicholas Troiano
Sacred Heart University’s club softball team has won their first NCSA North Atlantic North Conference title in program history. This gives the team an automatic bid into the regional tournament in Danville, PA.
The Pioneers have now qualified for the regional tournament four straight seasons.
In the past three seasons, the team has had to sneak and fight their way into the playoffs. This year they get the benefit of knowing that they have clinched a spot in the tournament.
“To win our conference’s division title for the first time in program history was a huge honor that I am incredibly grateful to be apart of. As a senior, it was a very satisfying to see all the hard work we have been putting in these last four years finally starting to pay off in our division,” said senior Kristen Chacho.
The team takes pride in their constancy of making the district tournament, it shows how much hard work and dedication they have put in over the years.
“Making it to the regional tournament really does mean a lot to us as a team because it shows the consistency of our program and how extremely talented our team really is,” said sophomore Stefani Antoshak. “It also gives us the opportunity to extend our season until the World Series in Georgia, which is an amazing experience, especially for our seniors on our team.”
The Pioneers have developed their consistency through their senior leadership, along with working as a collective unit by never blaming teammates for mistakes.
“The girls themselves with the senior leadership and hard work have maintained an elite level of success. We have a great group of women that came together on a mission that they wanted to go through together,” said head coach Ray Mencio.
They attribute their success to their strong sense of teamwork.
“The main reason why the team has been so successful this season is because of the amazing chemistry we have together. Our club softball team is a family, everyone gets along and everyone supports each other whether it is on or off the bench,” said sophomore Julia Collins.
Along with the chemistry and cohesiveness, the team has strengths in other areas that include hitting, pitching and fielding.
“We are very balanced and perform well in all areas, this gives us confidence as a unit because there isn’t one area we really struggle in,” said Mencio.
Mencio along with the girls on the team believe that they have what it takes to make a deep run in the regional tournament.
“We truly work as one unit, and have such chemistry with each other that anything we put our mind to is possible. All we can do is hope for the best and play with our heads held high and nothing can stop us from being number one,“ said senior Alexa Cozzarelli.