By Garrett Aleckson —
The University of Wisconsin–Stout women’s softball team—coming off of a strong 2014 season—is gearing up for the season ahead with optimism and a strong team. Head coach Christine Stainer, who is in her 17th year of coaching, was nothing short of enthusiastic and optimistic about the upcoming season.
“I always get excited for the new season! It’s invigorating, it’s exciting and when softball is underway, it also means nicer weather is fast approaching,” said Stainer.
Stainer also noted that part of the reason she is especially excited for this season is the successful season they had last year.
“I am especially excited for this year because we had such an amazing season last year, and I would love to see the players pick up from there and continue to strive to want even more,” Stainer said.
The team lost three seniors to graduation; however, Stainer believes that the blend of the returning players and incoming players is very important for the team to be able to have success this season.
“We did lose three very solid players in our graduating seniors: Sam Hastings, Jess Behnke and Hannah Sweet. But we do have over half of this year’s team made up of returners who know what success tastes like and are back and eager to continue to raise the bar! In addition to some very talented returners, we have a number of very skilled new players,” said Stainer.
Although the mix of returning and incoming players is important to the team, Stainer believes that it is more than just who or what the players are. They have to buy into the team and the system.
Stainer notes, “They first have to have a team philosophy. They have to be unselfish enough to take on and dominate in whatever role the team needs them in. They need to have leadership that demonstrates selfless responsibility, humility and trust.”
Many of the players on this team had a part in their success last year. Looking at the team’s successful season, Stainer said that the expectations are to get back to that level.
“Our expectations are to return to that same level of play, and possibly go further. We know that to do what was done last year—a lot of work had to go in ahead of the season—100 percent perfect effort has to go in each and every day,” said Stainer.
Coach Stainer expects her players to strive to be the best they can be in every possible way.
“I want my players to continue to push themselves to want to be better in all facets of their life (school, sports and family), and to be the best teammate they can possibly be. When all those things happen, so does winning,” said Stainer.
Last year, the team came close to a WIAC championship. Stainer says in order to win the WIAC, everyone needs to trust each other and strive for excellence.
“We need to continue to learn from each practice or game. We need to continue to strive for excellence in everything we do—both in softball, and in the classroom. We need to believe we can and trust in each other,” said Stainer.
Stainer stresses for anyone who hasn’t seen any softball games to come and support the players, “I encourage everyone to watch! Stout works hard all year, and they are amazing! I hope that as the weather begins to warm up and the sun comes out, that many of you take an opportunity to come to the south end of campus and catch a game! The players love to see the Stout community support them for all their hard work! They are very proud to wear the Blue Devil uniform, because they are representing everyone!”