Caitlin Dorsch ~ Copy Desk Chief
After a strong Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) performance last year and a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, the Lynchburg softball is prepared to start another stellar season. This past off-season, they have worked tirelessly on and off of the field in order to create authentic relationships with one another and to fine-tune their performance.
Sophomore outfielder, Kortney Leazer said, “I believe that our team chemistry and culture has improved a lot since last year. We have weekly get-togethers that allow us to hangout in a relaxed setting and really dig deeper into our relationships with one another. I think that when you form deeper connections with your teammates, it becomes a lot easier to trust each other and communicate on and off the field.”
Senior pitcher, Taylor Belknap also said, “As a senior, I can honestly say that this is the closest our team has ever been. We are family. We laugh together, we cry together, we experience highs and lows together, and we are all the better for it. Our close relationships allow us to communicate better on the field, which also translates to more effective gameplay. […] As a team, we have implemented all kind of new things to improve the culture, such as leaders in each of our important areas, weekly meetings with Coach, weekly team bonding, and all sorts of new communication techniques.”
The team’s focus on strengthen a positive and hard-working culture is considered to be a vital advantage for this season. Junior shortstop, Kayla Hugate added, “I think, because of everyone’s commitment in the off season, we have been able to lay the foundation to trust one another. With that, and the consistency of returners playing together over the past few years, the product will be success! I have always believed that trust and consistency are the major building blocks of a successful team. I think that these two variables along with the success from last season, we are set up to outperform last year’s tremendous season.”
The new freshmen have even felt the strong, authentic team love that the softball team has been instilling into every upperclassmen member of the team this past off-season. Freshman catcher, Olivia Herman insisted, “I was welcomed with open arms into the Lynchburg Softball program as a freshman. We are so connected and will do anything for each other. I trust these girls with anything and feel like i can tell them whatever i need to and they will help me out. The culture on this team is unlike any other and i really think it’ll translate to success this season!”
The UofL Lady Hornets begin their quest on Saturday, February 9, 2019 in a double-header against Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Their first home matches will be a double-header against Geneva College on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.