The women’s softball team will look to make a third consecutive run at the NESCAC crown this season. Last year, Wesleyan had a record-breaking season, winning its first Little Three title and earning the rights to host the NESCAC Championship after going 10-2 in division player. This year’s squad returns eight key players, including tri-captain and starting shortstop Molly O’Connell ’09.

O’Connell has been a consistent and reliable leader on the team, having started every game at shortstop since she arrived as a freshman. Known to be one of the hardest defensive positions, O’Connell finished the 2008 season with an .889 fielding percentage, 32 putouts and 72 assists. Last year at the plate, she posted a .258 batting average and was tied for the team lead in home runs with five, including a huge rip with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning during last year’s NESCAC Championship that ultimately sent the tournament to a deciding seventh game. O’Connell is optimistic about the team’s prospects this year as well.

“Over the last few years our team has become one to beat in the NESCAC,” she said. “We have a lot of young talent that we are really excited about, including both this year’s freshman class and our sophomore class, who have already contributed a lot to the program. We are starting where we left off last season and expect to go above and beyond, with our sights set on winning the [NESCAC] championship this year.”

The Cards will get their first action of the upcoming season Thursday, Feb. 26 when they scrimmage Elms College. They will not have their first official game until their spring break trip to Arizona, where they will open the year with a challenging 13-game schedule.

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