Penn Softball Looks Forward to a Fresh Start in 2004

Head Coach Leslie King Moore enters her first season with the Quakers.

Nov. 10, 2003

After a 2003 season, which was full of ups and downs, this year's softball team faces the 2004 campaign with new goals and a changed philosophy toward the sport. Two goals will be at the forefront of the team's preparation - building a foundation and making an impact. A new coaching staff combined with a young, enthusiastic team will prove the right ingredients for an exciting season for the Quakers.

Two seniors, Nikki Borgstadt and Erin O'Brien, return to the lineup this year. The team will depend on these two talented women to be leaders on and off the field. Borgstadt, who currently owns Penn's career records for innings pitched (479.3) and complete games (73), is expected to be the Quakers' leading pitcher. Last year, she recorded an ERA of 3.12 and picked up 51 strikeouts.

O'Brien, who has played in 117 games over the past three seasons, proved her offensive talents last year hitting a home run and finishing second on the team in RBI with 13. With another year of experience under their belts, these two student-athletes will be good examples for the rest of the team to follow.

Juniors Kristi Hackett, Zayha Hantz and Kim Le will also be key components of the Quakers' lineup. Last year, Hackett led the team in steals (8) and was second on the team in hits (36). She also showcased her talents in the field, recording a fielding percentage of .948.

Hantz received honorable mention for All-Ivy last year, after recording seven doubles and ending the season with a .939 fielding percentage.

Le appeared in all 38 games last year, picking up two stolen bases and five RBI.

The sophomore class will be headlined by Meghan Cowen. Receiving honorable mention All-Ivy as a freshman, she led the team in RBI (16) and walks (19).

Joining Cowen are fellow sophomores Marissa Brassfield, Katie Hughes and Jen Nichols. Brassfield will add depth to the pitching staff. In 2003, she recorded a 3.13 ERA. First-baseman Hughes will make an impact on the defensive front. Last year, her fielding percentage (.960) ranked her third on the team. Nichols, a strong offensive player, posted eight walks and nine RBI last year.

With only nine returning players and 12 newcomers, the team will need leadership and direction. With the Red and Blue starting from square one this season, the playing field is equal for the whole team. However, the Quakers will look to this season's captains, Borgstadt and Le, to provide leadership and experience to both the underclassmen and returning letterwinners.

The major elements of the new foundation will be enthusiasm and competition. All of the players are mentally prepared for the season and a stronger competitive atmosphere on both the practice and playing field will drive the team to maximize its talent.

A major change from previous years will be the depth of the pitching staff. A talented freshman class will join veterans Borgstadt and Brassfield.

"With eight primary pitchers, the freshman class will make an immediate impact on the mound," Head Coach Leslie King Moore said.

Depth is something that is invaluable to any team. With nearly twice as many players as last year, the Quakers have an advantage in all aspects of the game. With this new depth, the team should see success, especially later in the season.

Most of the added depth comes from a large freshman class. Julia Cheney, Casey Hare, Olivia Mauro, Allie Page and Lindsey Permar will aid the upperclassmen on the mound. The remaining freshmen - Kaelin Ainley, Erin Boyle, Melissa Haffner, Brandi King, Teresa Leyden, Kim May and Stephanie Reichert will contribute to all other aspect of the game.

Enthusiasm, energy, and competition will guide the team throughout the season. After working hard to build the foundation quickly, the Quakers will undoubtedly open the eyes of the Ivy League in the 2004 season. The work ethic of the team will allow the rebuilding of the team to be done in the off-season and the Red and Blue will make an immediate impact as they begin their season in March.

"This is a new era in Penn softball. With a new staff and a large freshman class. This will be an exciting year," said King Moore.