With the return of 10 upperclass-men and the loss of a single starter, the University of Vermont softball team has a bright outlook under the eyes of first year head coach Marcie Hickey.
Picked to finish seventh in the America East preseason poll, Vermont will look to rebound from last year’s 15-27 (6-15 Conference) campaign and reach the America East Tournament for the first time since 1996.
Beginning her first season in the UVM dugout, Hickey, a 1999 graduate of Bloomsburg University, replaces former head coach and 21 year veteran Pam Childs.
For the past five seasons, Hickey had been head coach at Coppin State where she became the school’s all time winningest coach after only two seasons.
A star athlete in her own right, Hickey earned second team All America honors in 1997 as a shortstop at Bloomsburg.
Hickey will rely on the supreme experience of her rotation as all three pitchers return for this season.
Led by junior flamethrower Aimee Kern, the Cats’ staff is one of its strongest assets.
Ranking third all time at UVM in strikeouts (276) and fifth in wins (21), Kern set single season records last year in both strikeouts (168) and complete games (21).
Sophomore Alison Daggett, named to the America East All Rookie team last season, and senior Sarah Burke round out the rotation.
Offensively, the Cats will have to compensate for the loss of star short-stop Kate Haber, who suffered a season-ending injury in the off-season.
Hickley will look to senior first baseman Kate Ramsey, and juniors backstop Whitney Borisenok and outfielder Elena Rizza to pick up the slack.
“A major key to success this year will be the leadership that we are getting on the field,” Hickley said. “We are in a unique situation this year in that we have no freshmen on our roster.
“We return 15 players from last season, which makes experience and team chemistry a big strength for us.”
The Cats will face Siena in their home opener on April 5.