UD Softball Season Preview

Pictured is UD’s Softball team. Photo courtesy of University of Dayton Athletics.

Jack Bucaro | Contributing Writer

University of Dayton softball, featuring several returning players and fifth-year seniors, is entering the 2024 season hoping to build on its appearances in the A-10 championships. 

Head coach Cara Clark has led the Flyers to success since her arrival in 2007. With the support of the UD community as well as the relationship between the coaches and players, the softball team is ready to continue adding to its legacy. 

“They have great character and such high-achieving people,” Clark said of this season’s team. “It’s important for us to provide resources for our players in order for them to grow as leaders.”

Clark said this season’s team “is probably the most experienced team I’ve had.”

The Flyers finished 35-19 overall in 2023, tying for the most wins on the season among teams in the A-10, and a 15-7 league record to close out its conference schedule in third place, according to UD Athletics.

Dayton softball reached the 35-win mark for just the third time in program history and the Flyers made the program’s 10th-consecutive and 14th overall appearance in the A-10 Championship in 2023, according to UD Athletics.

The team set single-season program records by posting a .312 batting average (the highest since the team hit .300 in 2017), rapping out 463 hits (the most since 461 in 2000),  and swiping 89 bases (the most since the team stole 75 in 2019).

Clark inspires her team off the field as well as multiple players from past Flyers squads have been selected first-team Academic All-American, including Gabby Snyder in 2017. 

Rachel Morgan, a sophomore studying mathematics, shared her excitement about the upcoming season. 

“I’ve always gone to Flyer softball games and am especially excited about this season,” she said. Growing up a Flyer fan, Morgan has been going to UD softball games since she was a child. 

“I want to bring the energy and show them as much support as possible,” she said.

That kind of support is what makes the UD community different than any other. 

“I just think [it’s] the supportive nature of our administration, from the president’s office, throughout campus, and all other athletic offices,” she said. This is a big factor to Clark being head coach at UD for 17 seasons. The culture that has been created is the key to the team’s success on and off the field.

Dayton softball split its first two games of this season Feb. 9 at Mercer’s Heart of Georgia Classic by shutting out Drexel, 8-0, in game one but losing to host Mercer, 5-3, in game two. Senior catcher Nicolette Papavasiliou and sophomore outfielder Emma Schutter each tallied three hits on the day, according to UD Athletics. Schutter last season won A-10 all-conference first team honors, while Papsvasiliou was named to the second-team all-conference.

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