After a year of waiting, a brand new season for the Brandeis women’s softball team began on Feb. 22 as the Judges welcomed the new season with a dominating victory over Mount Ida with a score of 15-0. However, the Judges couldn’t keep up the energy as they lost seven out of 10 games during last week’s UAA conference match marathon.
The strong performance against Mount Ida couldn’t be carried over into UAA conference play, “(At Mount Ida) We were just so excited to start playing games that we came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It was a great way to start the season … [In conference play] it’s definitely a different level of competition where each team has to bring their A game every day,” said third baseman Madison Sullivan ’16.
Sullivan has been a core part of the softball program, earning All-New England third team in May of 2014. “I think each season playing college softball has made me a better player overall just by gaining more experience,” said Sullivan. This season she has already hit a home run against Case Western University and Sullivan is looking forward to helping the team in their pursuit of NCAAs. “You have to keep in mind the overall goal you are working toward, which is getting better to help your team make NCAAs.”
But as a junior, Sullivan has experienced many more obstacles than the tough start in UAA conference this season. “The toughest part is definitely the mental aspect of the game. It’s a game, and failure constantly reminds you how imperfect you are. It can be tough to stay confident and move on to the next game,” said Sullivan.
The Judges’ discouraging start to the season in UAA play hasn’t crushed their spirits. “I absolutely think we can do better,” said Sullivan. After a .500 season last year, the Judges are looking to surprise their competitors. “I did not think last year’s season was a valid indication about the talent we had, and I think that makes it that more exciting to prove everyone wrong this year. Focus and effort are going to be the most important factors in having success. When we are playing our best as a team we can compete with anyone out there.”
With a less than ideal performance at the UAAs, the Judges aren’t discouraged and look toward a successful rest of the season after keeping the score against teams like Emory, who beat the Judges in conference play 5-4. “I knew this team would be dangerous and be able to compete with any team out there. We gained some solid freshmen and everyone has another year of experience to add to the team. We are all very positive about what we can do this season,” stated Sullivan.
The Judges will play their first games since the UAA tournament Wednesday, April 1, in a double header road matchup against Wellesley at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.