The softball team has big goals for this season. After finishing the 2016 campaign with a 26-21 overall record, a 16-8 conference record and a 3rd place conference finish last season, the team is looking to win the Southland conference in 2017. Junior second baseman Holly Neese, who finished second on the team in runs batted in and home runs with eight, is optimistic about the upcoming season.
“I think were the most confident we’ve ever been, I’ve been here three years now and every year we grow and we have a lot of talent returning and we have a lot of good freshmen and transfers so ‘I’m really excited,” Neese said.
The wildcats were picked to finish second in conference this season just a few votes behind McNeese State, who finished 23-4 in Southland competition last season.
“That is a great thing to hear that other teams recognize the caliber of this team, we are really excited to prove why we should be No. 1.” Neese said.
Sophomore catcher Donelle Johnson, coming off a torn meniscus last march, said she is ready to get back at it.
“Our biggest goal is winning conference and we’ve all jumped on board for that,” Johnson said.
The transition to Div. I is certainly a tough task. The Wildcats will open the season Feb. 10 at the CenturyLink Classic at Texas State against Big Ten opponent Iowa.
The Wildcats preseason schedule will also include the likes of eight-time National Champion Arizona, and Big 12 teams, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor. Head coach Bobby Reeves has high expectations for his team.
“ It will be nice go to Arizona and see those eight national championship banners hanging down, that’s going to be motivating to us.” Reeves said
With seven returning starters and a plethora of young players, Reeves has been pleased with his first few practices.
“Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, I’m a firm believer that you’re right.” Reeves said.
ACU is not eligible for postseason play until 2018 when the NCAA transitional period ends. The Wildcats first home game is Feb. 24 at Poly Wells field vs. Northern Colorado.