“You’ve got nothing if you don’t have any ambition,” junior Rachel Askin said. Ambition is exactly what the UR softball team has. Since coming back to school in January, the Yellowjackets have been practicing and lifting nearly seven days a week. While many people will be out enjoying the sun over spring break the softball team will be showing off their talent in Altamonte Springs, Fla. for their first games of their season.

New head coach Michelle Burrell has been preparing her team for next week since she started working with both the old and new faces of the team. Joining the returning players from last year’s team are six new faces. The freshman class includes outfielder Mindy Altemose, infielder and pitcher Beth Ameno, infielder Brittany Celeste, infielder Kristen DeCarlo and catcher Megan Winn. The sixth new player is sophomore pitcher and infielder Carly Hoffend.

“All of the [new players] have the possibility to start at or step up to a position,” Burrell said. “They are valuable to this year’s team.”

Newcomer DeCarlo has high hopes for herself and the team.

“When I came to UR, I was hoping I would love and connect with the girls on the team,” DeCarlo said. “I just hope I can come through and produce just as much as any other member of the team, disregarding the fact that I’m a freshman.”

Back again for their final season are infielder and senior Laura Rubinchuk, senior pitcher and utility player Jennifer Moshier. Their veteran status should boost team spirit.

“As a senior, I am hoping we will win Eastern College Athletic Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association championships,” Moshier said.

Next week will be a challenge for the team, since it will be their first time playing on dirt all season due to the Rochester winter.

“I want us to be prepared,” Burrell said. “The girls should feel ready to play each game we go into. It will be hard getting used to the dirt next week.”

Spring break will be the perfect opportunity for UR to deal with any problems that may arise.

“Knowing what players we lost last year and knowing what talent we have brought in this year, I expect us to win more compared to last year,” Burrell said.

The softball team returns this year after posting 27-18 win-loss record last spring.

Continuing, she said, “Pitchers will also be more versatile, and we’ll have [junior] Jena Robertson pitching more this year compared to last year.”

Also, infielder and junior Samantha Carr, back with the team after playing volleyball in the fall, has shown significant improvement in practice.

In all aspects, both on and off the field the team is looking good together.

“They get along on and off the field, they are all ready and give it their all at each practice,” Burrell said.

The softball team heads out Friday to sunny Florida, putting all their hard work and dedication into action on the fields of Altamonte Springs.

Woods can be reached at jwoods@campustimes.org.

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