Lady Flames softball gears up for 2016 season
The Lady Flames softball team will break out their bats and gloves for the first game of the 2016 season on Saturday, Jan. 30 in a scrimmage against Bellarmine University. The first official game of the season in the Gulf South Conference (GSC) will be on February 13 vs. University of West Florida.
As they approach the 2016 season, the Lady Flames face a daunting new challenge: they will now be competing in the NCAA Division II for the first time.
Head coach Emily Russell remains confident about the talent on her team and their ability to compete in the NCAA.
'We have a lot of really good athletes, so it's going to be an exciting year,' Russell said.
In 2015, the Lady Flames finished the season in third at the National Christian College Athletic Association [NCCAA] National Championship and finished with an overall record of 36-19.
Lady Flames pitcher Angie Hughes feels confident that the team can continue this success in the 2016 season.
'I feel pretty confident,' Hughes said. 'We did really well last year, we only lost one senior and the freshman that came in are all really good. I feel pretty confident that we are going to do well.'
The Lady Flames have brought in six new freshman recruits.
'They are going to see significant playing time,' Russell said. 'That's always exciting when you are bringing in talented kids who can compete from the get-go.'
While most Lee students used their Christmas break to relax after the fall semester, the Lady Flames were striving to improve both physically and mentally for the upcoming season.
'We had to workout all Christmas break to stay in shape,' Hughes said. 'We also do concentration [exercises].'
Instead of naming an exact goal of where they want to be at the end of the 2016 season, the Lady Flames are concentrating on being the best that they can be in each game.
'I'm just trying to make sure we completely reach our potential [that we've] built on the past two years,' Russell said.