FGCU welcomes Purdue for home opener
The Florida Gulf Coast University softball team faces a challenging season with a young team in a softball powerhouse conference.
“It’s a gauntlet for softball,” said coach Dave Deiros of the Atlantic Sun Conference. “It’s a very difficult path and we want to prepare ourselves for it as a team as much as possible.”
Last season, A-Sun Conference teams earned three spots in 64 in the NCAA tournament with USC Upstate leading the charge, followed by Lipscomb and Stetson.
With a total of 13 freshmen on the team, FGCU looks to find its footholds before conference play in March. Last weekend, FGCU played in the USF Presidents Day Weekend Tournament at University of South Florida to earn a 2-3 record for the weekend. FGCU battled against No. 11 Tennessee and USF who is also receiving votes.
Earlier this month, the Eagles took on No. 3 Alabama along with other Midwest teams in the Gulf Shores Tournament in Alabama in their first games of the season, where the team also earned a 2-3 record for the weekend.
“The coaching staff and I saw enough flashes of brilliance this weekend, that we have a lot of confidence in what our players will be capable of doing,” Deiros said of the upcoming conference season. “It’s just going to be a matter of them believing in what they’re supposed to be doing, ingraining it in muscle memory, and being ready to execute it consistently.”
FGCU will rely on leaders like ace pitcher, Shelby Morgan, last season’s batting average leader Kelsey Carpenter and outfielder Makensie McAvoy.
“I expect this year to be my best year,” Morgan said mentioning her bicep injury that kept her out most of last season, “it’s fully recovered and I think I can step up as a leader on the team.”
In its first month of play, the Eagles hold an overall 4-6 record coming into hosting their annual FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational at the FGCU softball complex.
“We actually did better than I thought we would,” Morgan said. “We still have more work to do, like working together and better communication. I’m excited, we’ve all had a lot of fun so far.”
FGCU will have its home opener against Purdue on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. as part of the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational at the FGCU softball complex.