BRIDGEWATER, Va.- The Bridgewater College softball team looks to make some noise in 2019 with a group who is ready to compete.
"I'm super excited about the outlook for this year. We have six new freshman who bring a lot to the team along with a lot of returners and experience. Everyone is bonding really well."
2018 saw the Eagles finish with a 15-23 record. Head coach Lis Schulz is looking at her returners to set the tone for what the team strives to accomplish this year.
"I always have the goal of making playoffs, but I really think it's within our grasp. We just have to go take it and not let anything stop us."
On the mound, Schulz looks to senior Carolyn Campbell to lead her pitchers.
"She is our senior pitcher. She has just grown throughout the years and I feel like she's on fire this year. She has the confidence of a senior which will definitely help her on the mound."
The Eagles have senior experience all over the field, something Schulz sees as an advantage.
"Lindsey Talley is our starting centerfielder. The communication in the outfield she has with everyone, whether they are newcomers or other starters, just really helps the team perform well. I also think Mikaila Guard is going to shine this year. She has this last year mentality that won't stop her."
Campbell, Talley and Guard are joined by fellow seniors Victoria Gontarz, Allison Patrick and Carlita Tibbs. Bridgewater also returns Stephanie Carroll, an All-ODAC first team and All-State second team selection last year.
"Stephanie was a huge bat last year. I think she brings a lot to the team."
The team adds six freshman, along with Elon transfer Katrina Martin.
"I'm super excited about our newcomers. Kat is a sophomore but it's her first year with us. She is just everywhere, she goes out and gets everything. We have Avery Pinder. She is an outfielder and one of the fastest people I've seen. Emily Clifford is a freshman pitcher. She brings speed to pitching mound along with presence. She's a bulldog out there and goes after it."
The ODAC has become a powerhouse softball conference. Virginia Wesleyan returns as the two-time national champions. Along with the Marlins, Lynchburg and Randolph-Macon also earned spots in NCAA tournament last year.
"I think the ODAC is getting tougher, which is funny because we do have the back-to-back national champion and we also send three teams to the NCAA tournament, which is unheard of. Virginia Wesleyan is going to be tough. They are just a good overall team. Emory & Henry can hit the ball like crazy, and Randolph-Macon just never stops fighting."
Even in a loaded conference, Schulz is confident her team has what it takes to get the job done.
"I think it's going to be neck-and-neck, really close ODAC games that will hopefully be won by us."
The team opens 2019 this weekend with a home double-header against Penn State-Altoona before taking a spring break to sunny Florida. The Eagles begin ODAC competition March 20 at Randolph. For the full schedule, click here.