While other athletic programs are coming to the end of their season, Cru softball is just getting started. After a successful 2008 season, the ladies look to once again be a dominate force.
The team was 35-11 overall last season and perfect in the American Southwest Conference with a record of 24-0. They set a school record for single-season wins, competed in the NCAA Division III National Championships for the first time and were crowned the ASC West Division champs.
Senior left outfielder Joanna Johnson said, “I think I speak for the team when I say that last season was unreal. I don’t think any of us knew what we were capable of.”
They are led by head coach Kasey Blomquist who is entering her seventh season with the program. She is a product of UMHB and coached at Killeen High School before taking her place at the university level. She is helped by coach Denise Lira, who has been the assistant coach for four seasons and is also a UMHB alum.
After such a memorable year, the team has high hopes for the approaching season.
“Because of last year, the bar is set super high for us,” Johnson said. “This team is completely different from last year’s team, but we work hard, and we have returners who know what it feels like to go above and beyond.”
She reflects on the accomplishments of last season.”Being on that team and going that far is something that every single person will always remember.”
Although the team has lost some experience with the graduation of six seniors, they have nine players returning to carry the torch.
“We had a good nucleus come back from last year’s team,” Blomquist said, “and we have good recruits who will fill in where the holes are.”
The squad has made 11 new additions to their roster, including Kirstie Curry, Sabrina Garcia and Caitlin Wells. Wells is a freshman center fielder from Spring, Texas, who is learning what is means to play at the college level.
“We are a hard-working, dedicated team,” she said. “The coaches push us to our full potential and then expect a little more. We are getting better each day and have high expectations.”
Blomquist believes pitching and defense wins games, so they have been concentrating on those things in preseason. However, with the speed of a few newcomers, the ladies will also serve as an offensive threat for other teams.
“I look for great things out of this team,” Blomquist said. “We are very talented and athletic. We just have to put it all together.”
The Cru kicked off their season with a pair of home games last weekend against Southwestern University. The team will travel to Longview, Texas, to compete in the LeTourneanu Tournament Feb. 27-28.
“All we can hope for is the same success and hard work as last year’s team,” Johnson said. “We set goals as a team and individually that we all want to achieve. If each person on our team is committed to those goals, then all we can do is improve.”