By Brandon Rebboah '13
As the season opener on Feb. 20 gets closer, the Santa Clara University softball team is hard at work, looking to improve on last season and compete at a high level. Four Bronco seniors are preparing for their last season as collegiate softball players. Stephanie Smith, a senior, catcher and Bay Area native, believes that the roster's four final-year have a duty to lead both on and off the field.
"Our senior class brings a lot of enthusiasm and competitiveness to the ball field," said Smith. "We are all working hard to have a great final season and will do whatever we need to make that happen. We are all leaders so we are constantly contributing to the betterment of the team."
Smith has started 23 games as a catcher during her career and looks to use her knowledge behind the plate to mold freshmen pitchers. Fellow senior Amanda Edmonson is also an integral key to the success of the Broncos. Last year she started 42 games and tied for the team high with seven doubles. Jackie Nicora emerged during her junior season as an offensive weapon and was named to the 2010 Pacific Coast Conference All-Coastal Division First Team. Senior pitcher Jenna Fong returns after making 14 appearances on the mound last season.
Senior leadership will play a vital role in the development of their seven freshmen teammates. The younger players will be tested early as the Broncos open up the year with 10 straight away games.
"Our role as seniors has been to provide them with (the younger players) the team's expectations and help them become accustomed to the student athlete lifestyle," stated Smith about the senior class.
On top of the team goal to improve on last season and her role as a senior leader, Smith has goals she would like to accomplish this season. Smith aims take her senior leadership and apply it to production on the field.
"My personal goals as a catcher are to have a perfect fielding percentage, to have no stolen bases by runners, and for my pitchers to have a great season," said Smith. "As a senior, my goals are to contribute to my team in any way possible and to lead them through a fun, winning season."