Temple is out to set one thing straight this season: the Owls believe they are the team to beat in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“We’re ready for this season,” senior Bari Lynn Pflueger said.
“If we don’t win A-10’s, it will be a big disappointment. That’s our biggest goal right now and we should be able to do it. But things happen.”
Yes, things do happen.
The Owls finished second in the A-10 softball standings last season.
However, with the return of seven starters and an impressive recruiting class, the Owls are looking to give the rest of the A-10 a run for its money, especially rival powerhouse Massachusetts.
This Owls softball team is like a jigsaw puzzle.
The team has everything it needs to put it together, it knows the pieces will fit, and it knows what the end result should look like.
Coach Rocci Pignoli believes everyone in the lineup is capable of hitting.
“Our hitting has come a long way,” junior catcher Alexis Gary said.
“We got a new hitting coach last year, and our batting has been a lot better.”
The Owls are preparing for A-10 play as they usually do, with a demanding non-conference schedule.
“We do that on purpose. It’s the John Chaney method,” Pignoli said.
“We’re going to try to play the best teams we can, because I think it gives our team the confidence to know what they can do.”
The Owls have played five games already, three of which were against top 25 ranked teams.
Temple’s last game was against No. 5 Washington at the NFCA Classic in Columbus, Ga.
The Owls (1-4) led 2-1 in the top of the third inning, compliments of junior Lynsey Grace, who hit a line drive double that knocked in two runs.
Washington answered back immediately with a single and a pair of home runs in the same inning to grab a 4-2 lead.
Temple, however, did not quit.
Senior infielder Chrissy Harris hit a solo home run to start the top of the inning, bringing the Owls within a run.
Unfortunately, the pitching of Washington’s Tia Bollinger cut any momentum the Owls might have gained by retiring the next three Temple batters and sealing the win for the Huskies.
Temple will travel to Plant City, Fla., to play in the Speedline Tournament this weekend.
Anthony Hood can be reaached at Hoody215@aol.com