The Pointers softball team started its season on a high note this year under new head coach Ashley Steltenpohl.
Steltenpohl was an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point before moving to Marian University and coaching there for four years. She has now returned to UWSP as head coach.
“It’s great to be back in the WIAC,” Steltenpohl said. “It’s great to be taking over the reins.”
The Pointers recently participated in a tournament in Minnesota. They came away with two wins and two losses.
Pitcher Sydney Gorges had a perfect game against Dubuque. This is the seventh time in UWSP history a pitcher successfully threw a perfect game.
“She did really well, and she had great defense behind her,” said senior outfielder Jordan Schreiner. “It was a good way to start the year.”
Team members are excited to see where this season will take them.
“The start to this season shows us we can beat some good teams,” said senior second baseman Madalyn Sawdey. “We can compete with anyone.”
Coming off a rebuilding year, the Pointers want to prove themselves.
“I think this will be a really good direction for our program,” Sawdey said. “Coach knows softball really well and that we aren’t a power hitting team. It may not show this year, but it will be a good change.”
Steltenpohl wants to implement an aggressive play style that keeps the other team on its toes.
She and the team are working on adjusting to each other.
“We’ve been building a new culture,” Steltenpohl said. “They are learning how I coach and my philosophies, and I’ve been learning and adjusting to them.”
The leadership Steltenpohl sees in upperclassmen has been huge during the transition period.
The team’s biggest goal is making the conference tournament at year’s end. If achieved, it will be the first time the seniors play in it.
“If we sweep or split with every team, we play we will get that goal,” Sawdey said.
Schreiner added that everyone must stay positive and energetic while playing.
Schreiner also wants to improve her hitting so she can help the team as much as possible.
“If I’m not hitting, I’m not helping the team, so I want to do what I have to to be successful,” Schreiner said.
Steltenpohl said the WIAC is a tough conference when it comes to softball.
“One of the great things about this conference is how competitive it is,” Steltenpohl said. “You always have to bring it. There can’t be any slouch games.”