After finishing last season with a winning record, the Coyote women’s softball team is looking to continue to improve this season.
The Coyotes will work under head coach Amy Klyse, who is currently in her seventh season with the Coyotes.
“Our ultimate goal is to win conference this season,” Klyse said.
In the preseason polls, the Coyotes were picked to place fourth in conference, with North Dakota State, Omaha and Fort Wayne ahead of them, respectively.
The Coyotes held a winning record last season at 29-20 overall and 12-7 in the Summit League. The team’s main foe will be two-time defending regular-season champion North Dakota State, who is the favorite to win the Summit League this season.
The Coyotes are without 17-game winner Erica Denney as pitcher this season. However, the team is returning sophomore pitcher Madison Frain, who started in 17 games last season as a first-year.
“We have two (first-year) pitchers and a sophomore who will be pitching for us this season,” Klyse said.
Frain will be joined at the mound with first-years Rachel Cue and Kayla Fields.
The Coyotes head to Orlando this weekend to take part in the University of Central Florida Tournament. The Coyotes will face Chattanooga, Kansas, Central Florida, Fordham and Long Island.
“As it’s the first weekend out, we go and get a feel for who we are and where we are at,” Klyse said. “Tournament play sets us up and prepares us for conference play.
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The team started preparing for this first tournament as soon as they came back from Christmas break, sophomore first baseman Yvon Minogue said.
“We’ve been doing a lot of team-building stuff, because it’s really important to our coaches and to us to have a team bond with everyone,” she said.
Senior infielder Lindsey Boyd said the team has been working on all aspects of the game.
“We’ve been working on our different defenses and just doing at-bats and running through some regular season things,” Boyd said.
The team has been working hard to make sure they’re prepared for each team they’ll face, Boyd said.
“We’re prepared,” she said. “We know the teams, we’ve taken notes, we’re definitely working on our defense and offense for them and we’re ready to go.”
Follow reporter Kelsey Kroger on Twitter @kkroger34