The Lady Hawks are flying high under new Head Coach Tony Ciccarello, as they currently boast an 11-6 overall record.
Ciccarello said he is proud of how his team dealt with the most difficult traveling schedule of the season. The Lady Hawks went 10-4 during this stretch, in which they traveled to Clermont, Fla., back to SUNY New Paltz and then to Buffalo and Fredonia.
“I was really worried, I almost set them up for failure by playing 10 games in five days,” Ciccarello said. “We got home Wednesday morning at 3 a.m. They had Wednesday, we practiced Thursday, got on a bus and drove to Buffalo and played Friday and Saturday. That’s a hefty schedule and they passed it all.”
Second-year outfielder Noelle Grande credits Ciccarello and the team’s three co-captains, outfielder Marissa Monaco, catcher and third baseman Melissa Kump and second baseman and shortstop Melissa Liotta for being instrumental components of the team’s success.
“Coach Ciccarello has been great so far,” Grande said. “He has a lot of experience within the SUNYAC conference having previously coached at SUNY Geneseo. This experience works to our advantage since he knows important information about our opponents. Our three captains have done a great job now and when we didn’t have a coach. They organized team lifts and team runs to keep us in shape but also to keep us together.”
Monaco said the team can still improve even with the success they’re having.
“Every day you can get better in this game,” Monaco said. “We can stop making games nail biters. For some reason we have been getting huge leads in games and letting teams catch up. We will make those changes.”
Ciccarello started the season with a pitching by committee strategy, but as the season progressed, fourth-year pitcher Amber Carozza, who was named SUNYAC Softball Pitcher of the Week for the week ending March 31, has emerged as the leader of the pitching staff. Even though Carozza has become the leader, the others are still contributing, he said.
“Amber has stepped up,” Ciccarello said. “She proved herself, not that the others didn’t. Erika [Traina] didn’t pitch until Saturday in the seventh inning, with the winning run on second base and she stepped up and got the save.”
Ciccarello said he wants to make sure his team stays aggressive. He doesn’t mind if they fail, as long as they put their best effort into it, he said.
“They know if they do it as long as they are aggressive, we’re good,” Ciccarello said. “I had a player not be so aggressive and be thrown out because she was tentative. I was upset with that and I told her ‘if you were aggressive and you were out, I’m okay with it.’”
Monaco said a goal she has for the rest of the season is to show the competition how talented the team is.
“[My goal is to] stay focused and make people’s jaws drop with our talent and success,” Monaco said.
The Lady Hawks will look to continue their hot streak at home on Friday, April 5 in a doubleheader against SUNY Potsdam.