Since the beginning of its season on May 3, the Princeton women’s softball team has worked through a hectic schedule, playing 18 games over the course of just three weeks. Disadvantaged with less practice and game experience than many of its early opponents, the team began its season slowly, but has responded in strong fashion to post a 7-11 overall record as of March 26. This weekend, the team will transition into Ivy League play, beginning with a pair of home doubleheaders against Brown and Yale.
The non-conference schedule for the Tigers has consisted of a series of tournaments, forcing the team to travel to Texas, California, and New York. First for the team was the Houston Hilton Plaza Classic. Princeton’s tournament and season here began unspectacularly — the team absorbed three losses of 10 or more runs in its first three games against Louisiana-Monroe, Houston, and Wisconsin. The team would rebound, however, to win its first game against Sam Houston State to conclude the tournament.
Over spring break, Princeton travelled to California for a week of games against West Coast opponents. The team split its matchups over the first weekend, with wins against North Dakota and St. Mary’s and a pair of losses against U.C. Davis. The following week, however, the team would continue to struggle against teams with far more game experience, dropping five out of its six matchups. Its lone win came 3-0 against St. Mary’s in a game highlighted by senior Claire Klausner’s shutout pitching performance. Finally, the team found sustained success at the LIU tournament on March 25 and 26, winning three out of four games during a pair of doubleheaders against Long Island and Binghamton.
Statistically, the team has been led by the offensive juggernaut of senior outfielder Marissa Reynolds. She leads the team in a variety of categories, from batting average (.471) and on base percentage (.600), to slugging percentage (.971) and home runs (3). The team has also benefitted from the immediate impact of freshman infielder Allison Harvey, who is tied for the team lead in RBIs with 10, and is second in hits with 17. Sophomore Kaitlyn Waslawski has meanwhile made her presence known on the base paths, logging 7 steals. Princeton’s pitching staff has also been anchored by the senior duo of Erica Nori and Claire Klausner, who have combined to pitch over half of possible innings. Nori has been particularly impressive, posting a record of 3-1 with a team-leading ERA of 3.63.
At the beginning of the year, the Tigers set their sights on defending their Ivy League title and returning to the NCAA Tournament. The path there begins this weekend, as the team seeks to get out to a fast start in conference play. As the significance of its games increases dramatically, the Tigers must hope that the experiences they have obtained in non-conference play will prove helpful to the matchups ahead.