BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh softball team will begins its fall season on Sunday when the Mountain Hawks host Kutztown in a doubleheader. The first game is set to start at noon at Kaufman Field.
The two-time defending Patriot League champions will also host Delaware in a doubleheader on September 23. On Saturday September 29 the Mountain Hawks will travel to Allentown to take part in the Carol Weil Tournament, where they will play two games against teams that have not yet been determined. The team will return home the next day to take on Rutgers in a doubleheader that will round out their eight-game fall schedule.
The Mountain Hawks will look to continue their success following a 2012 season, where they were they went 40-19 overall and 18-2 mark in league play en route to their seventh league title and NCAA Regional appearance in the last nine years.
Head coach Fran Troyan will have his first look at five freshmen and will be focused on finding replacements for a talented group of four seniors who graduated. Jen Colquhoun, Julie Fernandez, Tenley Halaquist and Audra Wood leave the program after helping lead Lehigh to 2009, 2011 and 2012 Patriot League Championships.
“We had a talented class that graduated last year,” Troyan said. “We graduated a bunch of our infield and one of our starting outfielders.
“We have players in our program who have been here for a little bit who are ready to step in and play. Everybody will play the same amount of time and we’re just trying to learn our personnel, especially the freshmen.”
Lehigh returns four first-team All Patriot League and two second-team All League players from the 2012 team. Senior catcher Liz Lucas, a two-time first-team All Patriot League performer, will lead the returning team along with two-time Patriot League Tournament MVP and three time All League selection Becca Bliss.
Lucas, Bliss, and fellow senior Kristen Mitchell were recently named team captains after a team vote. Troyan has confidence in the trio’s ability to lead the squad, but also feels the team is driven enough to work hard without direction from upperclassmen and coaches.
“The nice thing about this particular team is that everybody seems to be in a good spot with their own personal leadership,” said Troyan. “Because everybody holds themselves accountable, there is not too much of a need for others to hold them accountable.”
Lehigh will use its fall schedule to prepare for the 2013 season, which begins in February as the Mountain Hawks pursue a third straight league title.
Story by Cam Omsberg ‘13