NEW BERLIN– After finishing the season last Friday, coach Megan Smith and the UV/GMU softball team reflected on its overall year.
For Smith, this was her first season coaching the team, alongside fellow coach Sandra Bonczkowski.
“As my first time coaching any sport, I was not really sure what to expect nor what we could accomplish this season as a team,” she said. “I can proudly say that I had a great group of girls to kick off my season with and we really came together as a team and were able to get some W’s under our belt. I couldn’t be happier to be getting most of them back next season.”
Smith recognizes the accomplishments of her team captains, Kailee Figger and Pyper Kneale, who are both expected to return next season.
“The leadership that my team captains, Kailee Figger and Pyper Kneale carried throughout the season was unmatched,” Smith said. “Their dedication and passion for the sport of softball was very encouraging to the other players on the team.”
Kneale led the team with a .429 batting average, including 12 hits in 27 at-bats, four RBIs, and 12 stolen bases.
Pitcher Hannah Bonczkowski, along with Kneale, each struckout 22 batters this season, combining for 44 strikeouts in total. Bonczkowski also led the team with 20 stolen bases.
Smith also applauds Bella Jones for her hard work this season.
“Jones was an amazing teammate this year,” she said. “ She showed that through the non-stop communicating on and off the field and her encouraging attitude and positive energy got everybody in the groove on game-days.”
The Storm are losing its three seniors; Maddy Raymond, Melanie VanWal, and Rylee Lanfair, whom Smith only had the pleasure of seeing play in their final year.
“For the girls that are graduating, it was a pleasure to be able to work with you and you will surely be missed,” she said. “ I wish you nothing but the best in your next adventures and hope it is nothing short of amazing.”
Jaiden Schrag was also a notable player for the Storm in her first year on the team.
“Jaiden Schrag is an all-around athlete that decided to try out softball this year and I was extremely happy that she made that decision,” Smith said. “She is a teachable, eager and dedicated athlete that has proved her spot on the team this year. She was a dual-competing athlete this season and it is shocking how much she has shown with having so much on her plate.”
Next year, UV/GMU remain a young team that Smith anticipates to bond with, especially in the offseason.
“We have big plans including a 4 week summer camp at UV this July through August and a few players who plan to attend the softball camp at SUNY Oneonta,” Smith said. “The hard work that we will be putting in on the off season can only be a driver for our want and drive for a successful season next year with improvements. STORM is excited to build a softball program and the best is yet to come.”