Coming off a difficult conference record last season, the Lions will look to improve the previous 8-16 record. While posting a 19-11-2 record at home, the Lions struggled away from their home field.
“I think we are going to show a lot of great potential this year. We have been working really hard to come together as a team and it’s beginning to show on the field. Everyone is coming out with a great attitude and really showing a desire to learn more about the sport,” junior Stacie Salazar said.
With a team featuring six seniors, five juniors and five sophomores, expectations are high.
They will look to return to the NAIA postseason tournament for the first time since the 2007 season and to reach the GSAC tournament for the first time since 2009 .
With an experienced roster, the Lions will look to compete in a tough conference, which now features only six teams with softball programs after Point Loma has discontinued their program.
“We all know how to play this game and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach our full potential. The returners have done a really good job at working together and helping the new girls become a part of the team,” Salazar said.
The schedule will not do any favors for this team, either. With a difficult conference and non-conference schedule, the 57 scheduled games will test this team.
“We always expect to have good pitching and defense. But we will have to score runs,” Head Coach Beth Renkoski said.
Much of the season’s success will depend on how well the team meshes together and how they deal with such a difficult schedule. The grind of the sheer number of games will test this team’s will and determination.
The Lions will be led by All-GSAC catcher senior Angela St. Croix and the other 10 returning upper classmen from a season ago.
The five sophomores and four freshman will be looked for to make key contributions as well.
“Angela is definitely a strength for us behind the plate. She knows how to keep the team in check and definitely knows the game really well,” Salazar said. “Kim Skoglund is going to be great for us at short. For being a freshman last year she did really well, and I can definitely tell that she’s matured a lot since then.”
The team has already played its first double header against Cal State San Marcos and its alumni game this past weekend.
The Lions lost the first game by a score of 4-0 as they struggled to hit the ball and surrendered some unfortunate runs off errors.
The second game of the back to back was suspended because of the darkness, due to half game rule the coaches agreed upon prior to the double header. It will be finished when Vanguard plays at San Marcos on April 20.
The Lions will next take the field this Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 1:30 p.m. Come cheer on the Blue and Gold as they look to get their first wins of the season.