Wellesley College Softball will kick off its 2017 season on March 22 with its first New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game against Emerson. Currently in preseason, the team has set high goals and expectations for the 2017 season, which include striving for their 13th straight NEWMAC tournament appearance in May. Last season, the team advanced to the championship of the NEWMAC tournament, and they are looking to take it all this year. A NEWMAC championship would bring Wellesley Softball an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
In preparation for the season, the team has been working hard during their preseason practices. According to senior captain Kendra Coleman, the team practices five days a week and “lifts three times a week with a focus on strength and injury prevention.” She stated that “practices consist of going over different plays and running through situations in addition to constant repetition of hitting and fielding.”
Under the direction of head coach Keri O’Meara, the members of Wellesley Softball have already finished up two scrimmages in the first half of preseason in preparation for the opener against Emerson and a tournament in Florida. O’Meara has noted several players that are sure to stand out this season, including seniors Ashtyn Coleman and Anna Pisac, who are both all-conference players. Five new first years are joining the team with high praise from O’Meara and Coleman.
Coleman states that “every single one of them can hit well, so they all will be a great addition to our lineup… They’re all going to be exceptional assets to the program, and I’m looking forward to this season with them.”
The 15-person team is placing a heavy emphasis on off-the-field activities that focus on core values and team building. With DiSC, a behavior profiling tool, the team has worked on learning about their teammates off the field. DISC sorts an individual into four categories: D (Dominant), I (Influential), S (Supportive), and C (Conscientious). “We’ve been using this information to improve our communication on and off the field, as well as understand individual play styles,” said Coleman.
O’Meara, while aware of the goal of the NEWMAC tournament, emphasizes to the team the importance of daily goals. She says that the team needs to be “working hard every single day, and once games start, we just need to be playing to our potential and then good things will happen for us.”
O’Meara is looking forward to “having a successful season… because this is a really unique group.” However, for the team’s four seniors, this season means a little more. Senior captain Ashtyn Coleman stated, “I am looking forward to experiencing my last season…Anyone in a DIII program will tell you there is no money, no scholarship for us athletes—we play because we love the game, the competition, our teammates. I am hoping this last season is one for the books as they say.”
The team will agree that the positive group dynamic that they have already experienced during preseason will propel them into a successful season this spring. Wellesley Softball’s first home game will take place on Wednesday, March 22 against Emerson at 3 p.m. on the softball field. Make sure to come down to support the Wellesley Blue for what is definitely going to be an exciting spring!