The UNCG Softball team will head into its 2016 season with a pattern of strong seasons and fresh faces on the field and in the dugout.
Coming off of three previous seasons with winning records and a season last year that saw the team set a school record in team batting average, the softball team will have its sights set on competing hard and racking up victories this spring. The softball team also saw a new coaching lineup as well as some fresh faces on the field.
UNCG will host the Southern Conference Softball Championships this season beginning May 11.
The location of the conference tournament changes on a yearly basis, and UNCG was selected to host the games in July of last year. While hosting the tournament is a great opportunity for the team to work the home field and home crowd advantages, Head Coach Janelle Breneman noted that it will be extremely important to remain focused throughout the season and to take each game as it comes and not look just focus on the SoCon championship.
“This is an exciting time for our team, especially our six seniors,” Breneman said. “It’s nice having that home advantage, but we need to focus one game at a time.”
In terms of the softball team’s prospects at taking home the Southern Conference title, Brenemen knows that her team has the potential to bring home the victory and achieve the ultimate goal of a Southern Conference title.
Speaking of the six seniors graduating this spring that lead her team, Breneman said that she would like “to see this team have the best season possible. For six of them it’s their last so I want our team to gain the championship we are working so hard for.”
The UNCG softball team comes into the spring 2016 season with the memory of the three previous seasons with winning records, finishing the 2015 season with a record of 25-22. In addition, the softball Spartans also saw the team’s batting average school record fall last season with the team setting a new record of .324. This beat out the previous record of .316 that was set back in 1995. Breneman discussed about last seasons mark and how it affects this year.
“I’m not focused on breaking records,” Breneman said. “We need to improve each practice, learn and grow as a team from our pre season opportunities. This senior class is a special and unique group, they are driven to earn a championship and I am eager for us take the field on Feb. 11 and begin our quest.”
Brenemen wants to see her team get better and grow closer each and every practice as the teammates work together toward winning games and ultimately securing the goal of the Southern Conference title.
“We need to improve each practice and learn and grow as a team from our preseason opportunities,” Breneman said.
Brenemen reported that the team had a positive and cohesive fall semester and is ready to work hard this spring.
Brenemen brought Tracey Powell and Chelsea Hawkins in over the summer to serve in assistant coaching positions. Teresa Fister came in last month to fill another assistant coaching role. A volunteer assistant was also brought on board to bring the Spartans to victory this year.
“They bring a wealth of knowledge to the field, new perspective and different positive aspects to the game and our team,” Breneman said. “We are also fortunate to have a volunteer assistant this season. We have a lot of new energy and the transition has been very smooth.”
The UNCG softball team will begin its season on Feb. 11 at the Jacksonville University Invitational tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. Following this, the Spartans will compete in the University of South Carolina Tournament. The first home game of the semester will take place on Feb. 24 against the Tarheels of UNC-Chapel Hill.