Flying High

After what seems like “forever,” Head Coach of the SUNY New Paltz Softball team Denise Marchese said her team is ready to start their spring 2012 campaign.

The Lady Hawks return to the field in 2012 beginning with a trip to Orlando, Fla.,  where they plan to compete with other schools in NCAA Div. III. The team leaves on March 16, and will play over the course of spring break.

This will be the first test of 2012 for the squad. Marchese said the team has been working since the fall to get ready for the trip to Florida and the spring season.

“We started doing a lot of breakdown in the fall and been practicing for what seems like forever,” Marchese said. “We had about a five-to-six week fall season which served as an evaluation period for us. Over the course of these past five weeks in preseason, the team has been working hard and are very much ready to play.”

The spring 2011 team missed the SUNYAC Tournament and held a 15-19 record. The season also saw the departure of former Captain Jillian Gallagher, who currently stands as the all-time stolen base and batting average leader. Gallagher was named to the SUNYAC First Team roster in both 2010 and 2011.

Fourth-year Captain Victoria Holm said while Gallagher’s departure is a blow, the
incoming recruits this season have the talent to make up for it.

“We lost Jill which is going to be tough, but we picked up a lot during recruiting,” Holm said. “We have a lot of young talent which a lot of other teams in our conference don’t see coming.”

The Hawks enter the 2012 season ranked No.8 in the SUNYAC Conference Poll.
Marchese said the low ranking comes from other coaches not knowing about the new talent entering the Hawks line-up this season.

“We have a large recruiting class and I think a lot of the other coaches in the conference don’t know much about them,” Marchese said. “Really, being ranked eighth is fine with me. Of course, no one likes to be put in that spot, but we’re trying to see the opportunity of it.”

Holm said the ranking will work in the Hawks’ favor and they’ll be able to take
advantage of teams that underestimate them.

“No one sees us coming,” Holm said. “We’re one of the last teams and we’re going to take this to our advantage. We have a lot of players who are going to step up and help us get some big wins in the conference.”

The Lady Hawks have spent their energy practicing fundamentals and having the ability to enter games with the right mindset. Marchese said by focusing on game management in practices, they’ll be able to translate their game well once the season starts.

“This is a game based on repetition through fundamentals,” Marchese said. “The team is doing a good job taking ownership of practices and that’s going to benefit us come game time. Their biggest challenge is knowing they can step onto the field and be competitive with every team they face.”

Marchese said Florida will serve as a time for the team to evaluate where they stand against top tier teams in the Eastern region. She said the time spent preparing for spring 2012 has gotten the team ready to take the field.

“It’s a very multi-faceted roster and (they’re) dynamic as a team.,” Marchese said. “I’m excited and ready to watch them play. I see a lot of positive energy and hard work  and heart in this team and hope this can be a landmark season for the program.”