Syracuse club softball looks to continue historic run

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ On Syracuse University’s club softball team, a new approach to practice and preparation has lead the program to historic heights. Last weekend, with a win against Ithaca, SU finished first in the New England Central Division for the first time in club history. On Saturday, Syracuse plays in Danville, Pennsylvania, for the regional round of the National Club Softball Association regional tournament. It’ll play Buffalo in the regional semifinals before potentially playing the winner of Niagara and Northeastern in the regional final. The achievement, however, was a long time in the making. “We never had a coach until me,” head coach Jenna Stanzione said. “As a club team, we struggled with recruitment and depth — we’re doing a much better job using social media and advertising.”The Orange currently rosters 22 players but Stanzione says SU has played with as few as 17. The five-player difference seems small, but the team usually plays three games in a row on game day, and extra players to share the load can be the difference between a first place trophy or a second place finish. Beyond depth, Stanzione says the challenges of leading a club team are usually rooted in the club’s culture. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Dedication and organization,” Stanzione said. “When I was a player as a junior, there wasn’t much of that. Players showed up when they wanted to and the team clearly wasn’t a priority.”A Liverpool native, Stanzione was named head coach in 2017, but her love for the game combined with alumni pride has allowed Stanzione to mold her team since she was a senior captain in 2015. “As a leader, and now as a coach, I wanted to see better for us, for Syracuse,” Stanzione said.For the club, the emphasis on player priorities and team focus has had an effect on play as well.“We’ve had excellent pitching this season.” team captain Caitlin O’Hara said, “We’ve relied on it really all year.”Between pitchers Brittney Williamson, Megan Johnson, Alix Santos and Hannah McKelvey, the Orange has coasted to a division-leading 11-4 record and allowed just 58 runs on the season, fewer than four runs per game. On offense, the Orange has batted in a division-high 109 runs.O’Hara believes the key to the team success has been infectious enthusiasm. “We’re always rooting for each other,” O’Hara explained. “We could be down, whatever, but it only takes one person to bring enthusiasm and it spreads. That’s something I really love about this team. That’s how we’ve gotten this far.” Comments Published on April 20, 2018 at 6:19 pm Contact Julian: jawhigha@syr.edu | @JulianWhighamlast_img

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