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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Softball breaks school win record and continues fight for playoff spot

<ay, April 14, Carleton softball swept Macalester, officially breaking the school record for wins in a season. The two victories from the team’s doubleheader gives the Knights 23 wins on the season, which breaks the long-standing record of 21 wins that was set in 2000. This new record is a testament to the excellent season the Knights are having this year.

Head coach Amy Erikson believes this year’s achievements can be attributed in part to the team’s success last year. “I believe experiencing a bit of success last season and making it to the playoffs was a big motivator and confidence booster for the returning players coming into the season,” Erikson explained. In welcoming first-years to the team, Erikson said that the senior members were successful in “sharing their vision for what they wanted to accomplish this season.” In creating a supportive team culture, new and returning players have collectively stepped up and contributed to the team’s strong performances this season.

Sophomore Maris Daleo ’21 also spoke to the strong team culture and expressed that the coaches and captains have created an engaging atmosphere in which to compete. Daleo said this included, “working hard during practice and in the offseason to put our team in the best position possible to succeed and achieve our goals, but it also includes having that driven, winning mindset.” Senior captain Anna Lauko ’19 acknowledged the impact of this year’s pitching staff and hitting lineup on the team’s success.

“Our pitching staff has been doing a phenomenal job keeping opposing offenses at bay, and the entirety of the hitting lineup continues to perform consistently even in pressure situations,” Lauko said. She further stated that the team’s new addition of first-years, in combination with the veteran players, has created a combination of new skill and experience that has brought the team great success this season.

For this year’s spring break trip, the softball team travelled to Florida for ten days that were packed with competition. Despite the busy schedule, the team strongly benefited from the trip.

“To be able to play 13 games over those 10 days and try lots of different line-ups, test strategies and just get experience is huge,” Erikson said. “It was also an absolutely great way to just develop the team and allow them all to grow and get to know each other off the field even better as well.”

The players enjoyed the fact that these trips allow the option to play a variety of teams. “I love playing teams from all over the country, and I think it really puts our abilities to the test. I also think the spring trip is great for fixing some kinks and for helping to get in the swing of the softball season without the conference pressure,” said Daleo. Most enjoyably, the spring break trip allowed for the players to connect with one another. “The trip is also great for spending time with your teammates, so you are able to get much closer with one another which is one of the best things and makes the season so enjoyable on and off the field,” Daleo stated.

The Knights are looking to maintain their positive momentum for the remainder of the regular season. Lauko noted that, “it’s very important to keep our bodies well-rested and healthy going into the home stretch so that we can continue to perform at our highest level.” Along with staying physically healthy, the team must continue to be mentally strong as well. “Sometimes our team gets really excited and anxious when we are playing good teams, and even bad teams, and that sometimes allows us to make some mental mistakes. I think if we stay relaxed and play our game, we will definitely continue to improve and better ourselves as a team for the rest of the season,” Daleo said.

Erikson believes the team will continue to be successful if they focus on maintaining the same positive attitude and mindset during games and practices that they have all season. She said, “After the season is over, we can look back and reflect on all that happened, but for now, we’re staying in the present, competing and enjoying each moment as it comes. The Knights currently sit tied for third in the MIAC standings. A top four finish will earn them a spot in the MIAC playoffs.

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