The softball team will make its annual spring break trip to Florida to start the 2010 season, but this trip will be slightly different than in past years.
Due to budget cuts, the Bulldogs will play just five games over three days in Florida, compared to last season’s seven-day, 12-game trip to the Sunshine State.
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But while the trip has been shortened, the team is still eager to start the season.
“We’re looking forward to seeing some other teams,” outfielder and captain Ashley Sloan ’10 said. “We’ve been indoors for so long.”
The Elis will kick off their 42-game season at the Stetson Classic in DeLand, Fla., from March 12 to 14. Yale will face UConn and Stetson on March 12 before taking on Bethune-Cookman and Stetson once again on March 13. The tournament will conclude with a contest against UConn a second time on Marce 15.
The contests against UConn will be the first meetings between the two teams since 2004.
The following weekend, Yale will travel to Long Island for the Stony Brook Tournament, which will include games against Quinnipiac, Fairfield, Holy Cross and Stony Brook. After visiting Marist on March 24, Yale will play its home-opener against Army, against whom the Bulldogs have won nine straight games, on March 27 at Dewitt Family Field. The Elis will finish up the non-conference schedule with a doubleheader at Fairfield on March 31 before beginning Ivy League play on April 2 when they play on the road against Columbia, followed by Penn the next day.
The winners of the Ivy League North and South Divisions will meet May 7 and 8 to determine the Ivy League champion — and the Elis expect to be contenders.
“I think all of us expect and want to win an Ivy League title,” third-baseman Allie Canulli ’10 said.
The Elis are returning 12 letter-winners from last year’s team, which finished 22–22 overall and 11–9 in the Ivy League. Among them is outfielder Lauren Huddleston ’10, who last season was first-team All-Ivy and led the Ivy League with a .405 batting average, the fourth best in Yale history. Pitcher Kayla Kuretich ’10 led the team last season with three saves, while shortstop Meg Johnson ’12 led the team with a .349 batting average in Ivy games.
Also returning are Sloan, who was second in the Ivy League in stolen bases with 12, and catcher McKynlee Westman ’11, who started 33 games last season.
“We have very high expectations,” Johnson said. “We have the strongest defense and the deepest lineup since I’ve been here.”
The Bulldogs will also be welcoming five freshmen to the team: pitcher Jackie Manzer ’13, utility player Christy Nelson ’13, infielder Jennifer Ong ’13, utility player Liz Tutino ’13 and first baseman Kelsey Warkentine ’13.
Though the Bulldogs have won at least 20 games in the past four seasons, they said they hope this may be the team’s breakout year.
“We’re the best team I’ve played with in every aspect of the game,” Sloan said. “Our program’s come a long way.”