The ESU Warriors Softball team is set to take the pitch again with their season opener against Georgian Court this Thursday.
After their 2020 season was cut short eight games in, the girls look to continue on from where they left off.
They finished their 2019 season with a 26-22 overall record and left their 2020 season with a 6-10 overall record.
Placing 7th in the PSAC East Preseason Poll, the girls set their sights on a PSAC appearance and further post-season games.
Yet, this season is looking different than any other.
Not only does the team add eight freshmen to their roster, but six sophomores are looking to gain some experience too after never completing a full season due to the pandemic.
The team also rosters two redshirt-juniors, who may bring an experienced mindset yet maybe not as much on-field experience.
The team does see six returning starters with Mikayla Pourby and Marah Range, two experienced pitchers, taking the circle.
Captain Sofia Cecchin emphasized that the pandemic has limited their ability to practice as a full team.
Usually, the team would spend all of the Fall scrimmaging and then head to Florida in February for games.
With none of that happening, the girls have yet to be able to work out the flow of the team and make any adjustments.
“The fact that we haven’t had a preseason is going to be difficult for us, not having played any other teams, so definitely our biggest weakness would be to see if we are able to handle the pressure as a team during an actual game,” said Cecchin.
The coaching staff have also seen an addition with Erica Molinaro taking on the assistant coach role this year.
Molinaro competed under Coach Wohlbach at ESU before taking up a graduate assistant position at La Salle University last year.
This familiar face will hopefully bring a level of comfort to the team and maybe help the players excel as the transition is set to be smooth.
“Everyone has been working hard and it has been a long time waiting to finally play, so we are excited,” said Cecchin.
She hopes that their time practicing outside, despite the recent weather, has gotten the girls into the proper mindset to be ready for Thursday’s game.
Not only has the pandemic changed the processes and expectations for teams but the PSAC softball division has also transitioned back into a two-division setup after spending the last decade with three divisions.
This change also means there will be more competitive conference play. Westchester currently sits as PSAC East favorite with their number one ranking in the Preseason Poll so they will be a tough opponent for ESU.
Recently, Shepherd University was also added to PSAC division, whom Cecchin views as a strong opponent.
Ultimately, the goal for the season seems to be to gain a strong position in the conference and eventually reach playoffs.
Cecchin is optimistic and believes that they have the potential to do so.
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