Will NYIT Softball Defend the ECC Title?
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Break out your bats and lace up your cleats- softball season is finally here! The NYIT women’s softball team, who were the East Coast Conference regular season champions last year, have are picked to finish the 2017 campaign third in a vote by the East Coast Conference Head Coaches Poll. The team rounded up 32 points, behind No. 1 LIU Post with 47 points and No. 2 Molloy College with 41 points.
Under the reign of their head coach, Steve Christianson, the Bears finished last season with an overall record of 36-13 and a 23-5 in conference play. The Bears took home major awards in 2016 including Player of the Year (Kat Zabielski) and Coach of the Year (Steve Christianson). Six additional members of the NYIT roster earned inclusion on the All-Conference teams including returners Laura McLaughlin (First Team), Madison Smith and Tiffany McCracken (Second Team).
“We did a good job filling in the shoes of the impactful players who graduated last year,” says Christianson. “The players we brought in have the ability to play at the same type of levels and have helped us become an even more balanced team than we were last year.”
The team made it to the ECC tournament last season, but unfortunately could not hold off the Pioneers of LIU Post, who took a 3-1 victory and knocked out NYIT. “Losing that game was a heartbreaker,” says Junior captain and pitcher Sofia Evangelista. “After being regular season champs and able to host the ECC tournament, we thought we had it in the bag. We learned that nothing is guaranteed and sometimes things don’t go as planned.”
With a chip on their shoulders, the softball team returns to the field in 2017 ready for war. The players have been working hard on all aspects of the game, but believe that the core of their success starts with their energy and will to play together and for each other.
The team welcomes many new players to the NYIT field, including freshmen Samantha Melendez, Jaclyn Francisco, Brooke Scherer, and Sydney Kratzert and junior transfers Jess Daniel, Ashley Russo, Chrissy Olivas and Kaitlyn Lanksbury. “Each player is expected to play a very important role on our team this season and we have the confidence that we can turn to any of the freshmen to do so,” says Evangelista. “The new players all get along great with the team and each other. It’s like they have been a part of our team for years.”
Who will rise to the top in 2017? Follow @nyitbears on social media and log on to nyitbears.com to find out!